Pine Bluff’s renovated Chester Hynes Community Center at 2101 W. 11th Ave. was rededicated Thursday afternoon with a program that turned out to be as much a salute to Hynes as the facility itself.
Alderman Irene Holcomb, credited by Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. as being the primary force behind the 32-year-old facility’s $150,000 face lift, recalled Hynes’ accomplishments as an alderman and educator. The Pine Bluff School District gave the city the property on which the center is located in 1979 with a deed stipulation that the community center be constructed within a year. The center was finalized on time and opened in 1980.
Holcomb, who was first elected in 1988 and is retiring after her current term expires on Jan. 1, said she may have been the leader in getting repairs on the Hynes Center started, but Redus and her fellow council members shared in the efforts that carried the project to a successful completion.
“No one does something like this by one’s self,” she said. “No one, single individual can do anything like this alone.”
She cited the contributions of project director Larry Matthews, parks and recreation department director Angela Parker, community centers director Laura Hildreth and parks and recreation commission members.
Hildreth said she has witnessed “incredible things” during her 13 months on the job.
“Thanks for giving the children a place to come to, a home away from home,” she said.
Lee Meadows, director of the city’s Head Start program, said Hynes is now “the best looking” of the municipality’s community centers.
Before inviting attendees to tour the remodeled site, Redus pointed out that enhancements included installation of a new gymnasium floor, interior and exterior repainting, new tile throughout the building, new outside signage and upgrading of the parking lot.
“This has been a community effort that will benefit everyone, young and old,” said Redus. “This community center has many programs that utilize the facility. We have the after-school program, Head Start program, Youth Basketball Association girls and boys teams, praise and salsa dancing and adult basketball. And I’m sure we’ll have many more organizations and citizens utilizing this facility.
“This renovated facility gives our children a safe haven and a place of pride for all residents of our community,” the mayor concluded.