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Commission to break ground on Riverdale center

By Justin Boron

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners on Thursday will break ground in Riverdale on what it sees as the third of six recreation centers to have reached the construction phase.

Using funds collected from a special, one-cent sales tax, the commission has moved forward on a Riverdale center, a Jonesboro aquatic center, and a Jonesboro senior center. The county expects the centers to be open to the public in 2006.

The Riverdale center in Commissioner Virginia Gray's district is designed to serve youth and adult citizens in recreational activities such as swimming, basketball, dance, physical training, and tumbling. It will also provide classroom and meeting space.

The $40 million recreation program has been a point of controversy for the commission since newly elected officials took office in January.

Several local community leaders, such as local NAACP President Dexter Matthews, have been critical of the centers' progress and have accused the commission of misleading the public on the number of centers it will ultimately complete.

Matthews has maintained that the county owes its citizens six separate and new recreation centers in addition to the aquatic and senior centers.

Commissioners have contended that they will complete all six centers eventually.