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Our opinions: 10-2-19

Good news abounds locally

Despite the sad news of the world, and even some here in Americus, there are bright spots in local events.

Today’s news of a large grant for the restoration and rehabilitation of the Americus Colored Hospital is reason for celebration. The Americus-Sumter County Movement Remembered Committee Inc. has received a grant in the amount of $494,880 from the 2019 African American Civil Rights Program funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The building is officially listed on the Georgia Historic Registry.

With the funds, the building will be known as the Americus-Sumter County Civil Rights Center and Museum at the Historic Colored Hospital. The mission of the Civil Rights Center and Museum is to commemorate the Americus and Southwest Georgia Civil Rights Movement, by identifying, acquiring, and preserving all documentation of the Americus Civil Rights Movement and the historic Colored Hospital.

We anxiously anticipate work beginning on this project which should draw many visitors to our area when it’s complete. This has been a long time coming due to the work of a group of dedicated people.

Another star rising on the economic development horizon is the $3 million state allocation for the renovation of the Florrie Chappell Gymnasium, the oldest unoccupied building on the Georgia Southwestern State University campus. The historic building, featured in a column written by GSW history professor, Evan Kutzler last week, will be converted into a modern facility that will provide space for a student recreation center with services also available to the community through memberships.

An architect will be selected soon, with construction to begin in Fall 2020 and completed by Summer 2021. The remaining $500,000 needed for the project will come from private funds. This will be a boon for the university and the community. Thanks to our legislative contingent, Greg Kirk, Freddie Powell Sims, and Mike Cheokas.

And finally, on Monday evening, local law enforcement officers were honored during a moving service conducted by Father Jim Parker as St. John’s Anglican Church in Americus. The solemn ceremony included each individual officer’s being blessed by the father, and presented with medal of St. Michael, patron saint of law enforcement. A buffet meal followed.

The protection of our law enforcement officers is something we all should pray for every day as they place themselves between those who seek to do evil and their potential victims. We pray for their safety and that of their families.

Thank you, St. John’s for this great blessing.

These are just a few bright spots in the news of the world in Americus and Sumter County. We are thankful.