PICKENS, MS (WLBT) – Controversy surrounds the future of a Holmes County playground.
The community play area in Pickens was recently burned to the ground, and now discussions center on how to go forward.
Twisted metal is all that remains of the MLK Association jungle gym in Pickens.
The $50,000.00 playground equipment was built with federal funding 10 months ago.
Holmes county authorities said it was burned June 10th by two juveniles trying to build a bomb.
Now MLK officials say the board is split on the future of the playground.
Officials said the association received a $240,000.00 grant for youth recreation, $120,000.00 remains.
Board president Herman Edwards said he wants the playground rebuilt and a new swimming pool.
He said others on the board want to spend most of the funding on a new roof, air-conditioning, kitchen appliances and other club house renovations.
"They want to save money so they can spend the money on a building that is not being used to serve adults for private adult functions. So they're stealing money from kids and giving it to adults," said Edwards.
Board members voiced their concerns about the possibility of another fire, the liability of children's safety and the dangers and cost of maintaining a swimming pool.
"My position is the grant is for recreation for the children, but there is also a portion for the building and we can equalize it out and do what we need to do, but we have had a setback with the fire burning the centerpiece down there," said board treasurer Henry Simpson.
Five members of the eight member board attended the meeting.
No action was taken.
Members said they want more time to review playground bids.
The burned jungle gym was not insured.
The board will meet again next Tuesday for a possible vote on the future plans for the playground.
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