2/27/2013 6:00:00 AM MAP agrees to lease deal for Booker T.
By STEVEN THOMAS Staff Reporter
A second verbal agreement has been reached between the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and Mississippi Action for Progress over a contract that would allow the agency to lease old Booker T. Washington School and Gym for in-kind contributions for repairs and upkeep.
The city-owned facility is currently being leased at no charge to MAP for its Headstart program.
In February 2012, the city drew up the contract, which would allow MAP to lease the facility for in-kind contributions.
The contract, which was never signed by MAP, noted that the building and grounds would lease for $10,050 a month.
Officials have said that the gym's roof was in dire need of repairs, citing numerous leaks, which have led to a deterioration of the floor, among other things.
City attorney Robert Thomas told aldermen last week that MAP officials have agreed once again to sign the city's contract.
As of Tuesday, the contact had yet to be signed.
MAP officials recommended that aldermen tour the school and gym to access needs, Thomas said, telling the board that the "gym looked good" to him.
However, a member of the Community in Action group pleaded with the board earlier this month to address the physical condition of the facility.
CIA member Johnnie Beckwith said he would return monthly to the board meetings until something is done.
"I challenge you to give them 30 days notice to see why they don't sign the contract," Beckwith said, noting that the facility would be a good location for the Boys & Girls Club.
Beckwith said if something wasn't done soon there wouldn't be anything left to do to the Booker T. facility "but bulldoze it down."
Mayor James Young toured the gym with a Neshoba Democrat reporter on Monday.
He noted several areas in need of work, the most pressing being the leaking roof.
Other areas needing work were the bleachers, which were being held up with large tin cans, the floors which have several areas either cracked, warped or missing, and a few rooms that need to be blocked off, the Mayor noted.
"The state has even asked we not use the building," he said.