Regan: Galimore Center will not close

Concerns may have subsided after hearing City Manager John Regan say to commissioners and those attending last night’s meeting that the Willie Galimore Center will not be closed just because the County walked away — however, short and long-term plans are still undecided.

Civic leaders who reside or have businesses in the Lincolnville community, their friends, family members and some, whose family have been connected to the traditionally African-American neighborhood for generations, listened intently as Gwendolyn Duncan addressed the commission about her group’s plans and goals for the future.

Duncan is co-director of the Willie Galimore Community Center Educational and Recreational Programs Advisory Board; together with its Director, Purcell Conway. She also serves as President of the 40th Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, Inc.

In her presentation, Duncan, who is a native St. Augustinian and former Lincolnville resident, shared portions of the organization’s sixty-three page management proposal and vision for the Galimore Center.

Regan and General Services Director Jim Piggott have been working with Duncan, Conway, proposed Operational Manager Sharyn Coley, and others on the Advisory Board to determine the best way to accomplish a revitalized center for city residents.

Piggott told the commission that he believes, given information provided by the county, that it is possible to operate the center, on a short-term basis, for about $40,000 during the first year.

Current Advisory Board members include:

Purcell Conway, Director, Palm Coast, FL 32137
Gwendolyn Duncan, Co-Director, Palm Coast, FL 32137
Sharyn Coley, Operational Manager, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Audrey Galimore, Tallahassee, FL 32305
Joe Eubanks, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Richard Allen Duncan, Palm Coast, FL 32137
Dalonja Duncan, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Edwin Russell, Mill Creek, FL 32092
Mary Thomas, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Greg White, St. Augustine, FL 32084
George Gardner, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Teresa Segal, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Barbara Vickers, St. Augustine, FL 32084
June Conway, Palm Coast, FL 32137
Audrey Willis, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Linda James, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Pop Terry, St. Augustine, FL 32084

The Willie Galimore Community Center Educational and Recreational Programs Advisory Board propose to implement their plan for the Center through a series of phases as funding, actual usage and community support can be determined.

Based on ideas that have been suggested thus far, Anticipated Programs during the first year include:

• AM and PM Aerobic/Zumba classes
• Homework assistance on Tuesdays-Fridays
• AM Open Computer Lab for adults
• Summer Enrichment Activities for Kids
• Holiday Activities for Kids
• Addition programs will be addressed as additional personnel is added
• Workshops on the Civil Rights Movement of St. Augustine, FL
• Mentoring and Advisory Programs for 10th – 12th Grades

Duncan told the commission “Our long term goals are to develop the park as a tourist attraction which will include rides, games, water activities such as a splash pad, and the re-opening of the swimming pool.” Duncan believes that through collection of user fees and sale of memberships, the pool can become financially viable.

“We anticipate having everything in place by 2015 for the 450th Celebration of the founding of St. Augustine,” Duncan told the audience during Monday’s regular City Commission meeting.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by Gwendolyn Duncan

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