Community complains about community center not being open to everyone, mayor explains why

Future of Fairfield Community Center

FAIRFIELD, Ala. (WBRC) - The community center in Fairfield is once again the center of attention as the city continues to recover from past financial issues.

There have been many efforts over the years to save the Jerry D. Coleman Community Center. After shutting down in 2016 due to disrepair, the community center is now fixed and ready to go, but some neighbors complain the doors actually remain shut.

“The senior citizen side is open and functioning,” said Mayor Eddie Penny.

Mayor Penny said part of the building used for senior citizens, called the Senior Center, is open and used daily.

(Source: Brittany Dionne)

The programs funded by the city and United Way.

“United Way provides Meals on Wheels. The city also has to pay a grant where we do a lot of that. We also have to supply employees to make sure the seniors are taken care of the seniors are taken care of well,” said Penny.

Penny said the center currently has two full-time employees. However, on the other side of the building, a gymnasium, fitness center, pool and multi-purpose rooms are not used daily, according to neighbors.

(Source: Brittany Dionne)

WBRC was there in 2018 when Christ Church called on the community to raise money to have the AC fixed. Others pitched in to have the pool repaired. However, those services would have to be funded by the city, according to Penny, who said financially the city has other priorities.

“We have to make sure we have first responders, fireman and police officers first. Then, we are working our way down. All of our programs are important but when you have just so many dollars, you have to make sure you spend them for the best benefit for all,” Penny said.

Penny said the city would have to hire a lifeguard before they could open the pool. He said once the cities finances are in order, he does plan to open the center for everyone.

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