The Meridian Parks and Recreation Department has some new additions for the summer. Next week its kicking off its first ever summer basketball league for children. Also, next week the department is launching a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club that will provide what's called 'Teen Nights' for young people three times a week.
"Basically, 'Teen Night' is extended hours for the Boys and Girls Club," says Meridian Parks and Recreation Department Director, Kelvin McGruder. "The club closes at 5:30 in the summer, but we're extending it for teens until about 9 o'clock on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We have the flat screen tv's, all the game boxes and music. Mr. Hood has a brand new gym floor. It is amazing the number of children that come in there."
Each 'Teen Night' will be free, and open to all young people who are 13 to 18-years-old.
Due to partnerships that have been formed McGruder says the department's baseball league numbers are up across the board by at least 20%. He says needed upgrades have also been made at Velma Young Park in East Meridian.
"We've put new shelters up for community events so that people can come in and just have fun and have picnics around the park, and also we've lit the park up. We've put new lighting at the basketball court so when you go down through there from five until ten it's lit up. So, people can feel safe about being in that community again."
McGruder says his long range plan is to bring some outdoor musical events back to the band stand at Highland Park. He says this will lead to people filling the area with lawn chairs. Although this will not happen this year, he's hopeful that sometime next year the first of these concerts will take place.
"We'll bring something back for the grown folks, something like some oldies and goodies, a little gospel and R&B. We'll just bring something back that's been missing for a long, long time."
Saturday, June 7th from 10 AM until 4 PM the Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor a Community Fun Day at Velma Young Park. It will include: food, swimming, a bike give-away, a basketball shootout and other activities for kids. All of the activities are free.