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Kingston celebrates new community center

 

NATCHEZ — The new Kingston Community Center located at Kingston and Old Kingston roads opened for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Kingston and Sibley communities hosted a joint National Night Out event.

The event served to unite the county’s law officers, first responders and firemen with the members of the community they serve and protect every day.

“We thought it this would be the perfect event to show off the new Kingston Community Center,” said David Carter, Adams County District 2 supervisor. “We used to host (the National Night Out) here, and of course last year we didn’t have one in this area.”

Carter said the Kingston Community has an excellent group of volunteer firemen, but even though they arrived five minutes before the city firemen did, the center burned down in September 2016 before they could save the building, he said.

The building, which was built in 1951, was the old cafeteria for the old Kingston school and then became a community center for area residents. Since then, Adams County has built a new community center at the location.

Douglas McIlwain said he and his wife, Carol, were both students at the original Kingston school in the 1950s.

“That’s where we used to get our lunch,” McIlwain said, pointing to the new building that still smelled like fresh paint. “We used to get a little carton of milk and a pack of crackers right there for a nickel.”

Carter said the community center is the heartbeat of the Kingston community.

“The community is excited to finally be back in it,” Carter said. “The building is really sentimental to residents in the community. A lot of them went to school there. It means a lot to the community. The new center won’t replace the old one, but it gives something to this community.”

Although residents got their first look at the new center Tuesday night, Carter said the new building is not 100-percent completed.

“It’s about 95-percent completed,” Carter said. “The playground at the center still needs to be completed, fences still need to be put up, and there is still some wall decor that needs to be hung. There will be photos of the old center hung in the new one.”

An official grand opening date has not yet been set, but Carter said it will be sometime in September.

“We just wanted to allow community members to get a first look at the center,” Carter said. “It is something special to this community.”

Even without an official grand opening, the new Kingston Community Center housed a lot of new guests and old friends Tuesday night, including many Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Kingston Community first responders and all five of Adams County’s supervisors.

Several children from the community smiled and pointed as an AirMedCare emergency evacuation helicopter flew over them and landed in a grass field beside the center. Additionally, two fire trucks parked outside and later that night about 50 law enforcement patrol units flashed blue lights along Kingston road.

“Everyone you see here tonight is here by choice, including the supervisors,” said Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten.

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