Community members got their first good look into the new HW Grays Building in Pacific Park during a dedication in which a plaque inside the building was revealed.
“This is a project that we are really excited about. The [City] Council and I have been talking about this for a long time and anticipating this. We are so excited to see this beautiful structure come together,” said Sulphur Springs Mayor John Sellers at the May 28, 2021 event.
Sellers recalls HW Grays, for whom the building is named, to be a “kind wonderful man.” He said his first encounter with Grays was through involvement with the 4-H program. He noted it’s nice to being able to again name a community building such as “this beautiful structure” after Grays.
While there’s still some finishing work to be done – the roll up bay doors that open into the park have yet to arrive and be installed, and restroom fixtures and facilities, and kitchen counters and equipment yet to be installed. City officials and project managers said they are planning for a formal ribbon cutting on or around June 19, in time for the annual Juneteenth events held annually in Pacific Park.
City Manager Marc Maxwell noted that a painting of Grays is expected to be placed in in the building before the officials ribbon cutting ceremony this summer.
The plaque notes the H.W. Grays Building to be a property of the city of Sulphur Springs, lists May 28, 2021 as the date of dedication, the mayor and city council members, city manager and secretary, architect, and offers special thanks to the chief building official, public works director, city electrician and facilities management supervisor for their contributions to the project. City staff have poured part of the concrete walk nearest the road, with more to be completed around the grounds later.
“We don’t have nothing on this side of this caliber so this is probably the most extensive city structure on this side,” said Bridgette Cooper, who founded and has as president of the non-profit East End Allegiance: Our Youth, an organization created to empower youth to be self-sufficient and confident in their being through education, enrichment activities, training, and mentorship, and along with other community members, advocated for improvements to unsafe playground equipment and the Grays building in Pacific Park in the fall of 2018.
The next phase of the park improvement will be renovation of the actual grounds themselves, which a Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant will help fund. Plans are being finalized for park renovations. The first phase of the park improvement project was funded with bond funds authorized by tax payers, which will also pay for construction of a new senior citizens activity center and will be repaid using EDC funding.