OUR OPINION: City, community should support facilitys growth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2007

After only a short period of time being open, the Theo Ratliff Activity Center has been able to meet and exceed the needs of its community. Originally envisioned as a place to serve approximately 500 community members, the Center now boasts over 5,000 visitors each month.

But the real beauty of the Theo Center is in the diversity of the programs they offer. The Center is not merely a gym facility where people can come play basketball or work out.

The Theo Center is a place for senior citizens to attend light exercise classes, a place for young parents to learn parenting skills, an arena for music appreciation and piano lessons and a refuge for at-risk children who are looking for some direction in life.

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All it takes is a few minutes talking with the staff to realize how hard they work to make the Center a success. They are dedicated to providing a safe and exciting place for community members to congregate. Director Edward Ward has been hard at work to keep the Center thriving.

In fact, the facility has become so popular that they are having to turn certain programs away because they don&8217;t have the space to accommodate everyone.

In order to continue providing a place for the community to grow and learn, the Center is looking for a way to build more rooms onto their facility.

Theo Ratliff, the Demopolis native and NBA star from whom the Center is named, has already committed to help fund the expansion. The only thing the Center needs now is the community&8217;s support.

While the Center is seeking out ways to apply for grant funds, they are also depending on the City of Demopolis to continue their commitment to the Center and the needs that it serves.

As Mark Pettus stated earlier this week, the Theo Ratliff Center is more than just a recreation center it is a life center.

Now is the opportune time for the City of Demopolis to make an investment in the life of the community by supporting the expansion of the Theo Ratliff Center.