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A new start - Luetta Moore community building opens Thursday
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    Years in the works, the new community building at Luetta Moore Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be open Thursday.
    A ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by tours of the building and light refreshments, is slated for Thursday at 10 a.m., said Broni Gainous, marketing coordinator for Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation.
    The 3,400 square foot facility is the product of teamwork between Bulloch County and the City of Statesboro, said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch. The building, to be used for community events, training, and to be available for rent to private parties, boasts a large multipurpose room, kitchen facilities, office space and bathrooms.
    “I think this will, first and foremost, provide a facility the immediate neighborhood can be proud of,” he said.
    The former building at the park “fell into a decline” and both city and county officials debated over the responsibility of improving the park and repairing or replacing faulty equipment and buildings.  Statesboro City Councilman Gary Lewis said he, Bulloch County Commissioner Anthony Simmons and the late George Jackson, who was in office as a county commissioner when he passed away earlier this year, all worked hard toward the goal of making Luetta Moore Park a location of which to be proud.
    “I think it’s great,” Lewis said. “We’ve finally reached that goal. I want to thank the city and the county – this is good for the community. It’s a crown jewel for this area.”
    He said he knows Simmons echoes his sentiments and said Jackson “would be so proud to see this. We played a key role in getting this accomplished.”
    Couch said the county funded the majority of the cost – the City of Statesboro contributed about $250,000 of the $650,000 cost – and that the project was a combined effort between the two governmental entities.
    “I am happy that this satisfies the demands of the citizens,” he said. “Some wanted more in addition to a new community center, but we tried to be realistic about what we could afford.”
    He said the new community center will hopefully be “an icon or centerpiece” for the neighborhood. “I know it’s going to mean a lot to the people.”
    Lewis said the new construction will be a boon to the area, and said he hopes the community “uses it in the most respectable way.”  The improvements at Luetta Moore Park have been a long time in the making, he said. “We’ve been fighting for this for a long time. It’s a dream come true.”
    Gainous said the public is invited to the ceremony. After the ribbon cutting and comments from city and county officials, those interested can tour the new facility and enjoy light refreshments at the site.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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