City opens new community gym at Maides Park
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A new fitness facility has opened at Maides Park in Wilmington.
After a ribbon cutting Friday morning, the Derick GS Davis Community Center Gymnasium officially welcomed the community for use.
Derick G.S. Davis made history as the first African American in the south to serve as the director of a municipal recreation department. During his time with the city, he secured grant funding for construction of the Martin Luther King Community Center and was co-author of a proposal for the New Hanover Services for the Aging to be established. He was also the first African American to be elected president of the North Carolina Recreation and Park Society.
The gym will offer multiples activities from basketball to archery for children in the Cape Fear. It will also focus on mentoring children, giving them opportunities to learn and play.
The addition of the gym and multipurpose room are one of the 2016 voter-approved parks bond projects. Bordeaux Construction completed the work, which cost $2,665,681.
Mayor Bill Saffo, WPD Chief Donny Williams, and some of Davis’ family members attended the event.
Davis’ granddaughter, Dilsey Davis, said if he were here today, Davis would be proud to see the complex open.
“He was the first African American director of a municipal parks and rec in the entire south,” Dilsey said. “I think that is creating that legacy and being able to do those things allows kids to see they can be the first to do something as well.”
This is the second expansion of the community center. The first included a building addition, walking trails, picnic shelters, and athletic lighting, which was funded through the 2006 parks & greenspace bond and the city’s capital improvement program.