MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One local community is about to get a space dedicated to Mid-South children.
The more-than-half-million dollar sports complex planned for Binghampton is part of a non-profit’s 25-year plan for community-centered development. The space will be free for everyone to enjoy, but project leaders say their number one goal to give youth a place to play.
The site of the old Lester schools will soon be home to a $600,000 athletic complex.
“We had kids in the church who said we are building all these buildings in the community but there is no place to play. And that was really an impetus for us to get started in saying let’s do something positive,” said Keith Norman, pastor for First Baptist on Broad.
This project, lead by the Broad Avenue Community and Economic Development Corporation, will change that with a new football field, walking track, and pavilion where fitness classes will be held.
In the midst of a renaissance for Binghampton, Pastor Keith Norman believes green space that is free to the community is needed.
“We don’t want it to be a gentrified community. We don’t want people to be pushed out of their living space. We want people to be welcomed and stay home ,” said Pastor Norman.
The football field will be named after 2014 Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey. A man who started his football career in eighth grade on the very same field.
“I was just another kid in the Binghampton community, and everybody was noted for Tillman and Johnson and standing on the corner, but that wasn’t for me,” said Humphrey. “So getting involved in football really just gave me a start.”
A game that changed his life and took him to the NFL where he played in the 1981 Super Bowl.
“Had it not been for sports I don’t know where I would have been,” he said.
“We are seeing that sports and youth sports can lead to the reduction in violence, the development of their character, and enhancement of their person skills,” said Norman.
Pastor Norman says he is in talks now with Shelby County Schools to allow the district to utilize the field for football games and other sporting events.
The complex is slated to open next summer.