SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Senior citizens turned the Southaven Board of Aldermen meeting into a pep rally Tuesday night, breaking into applause and wanting answers on why they have not received a new senior citizens center as promised by former city leaders through the Pennies For Parks program.
The program raised tourism taxes on meals and hotels to help improve neighborhood parks, and help fund a new multi-million dollar senior center.
“I took yoga today in an un air-conditioned room and I was probably the youngest person in there,” said Theresa Black.
Seniors were disheartened to learn the sketches they saw for a new center didn’t just not happen, but probably never will, unless state lawmakers change laws.
“Some of the plans of the past were not good financial decisions for the city,” said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite.
Mussellwhite said Pennies for Parks won’t pay for the center alone, and because the tax expires every three years, he can’t borrow money to either, saying no bonding company would approve it.
“I can’t make you a 20-year loan if you’re only going to have a job for three years,” Musselwhite said.
“What can we do?” asked Dottie Shelton. “There’s not anything we can do?”
The seniors were asked to lobby state lawmakers for the change and trust that city leaders are considering a plan B for them.
“We were promised something and it doesn’t happen, it’s upsetting,” said Faye Newton.