January 22, 2013

Community center celebrates first year

By Christopher Smith

— If diversity and acceptance are marks of a true community, Tommy Pinson says the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton has “exceeded expectations.”

As several entered the community center for a prayer breakfast Monday morning, most were thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. Pinson, director of the community center, was also thinking back to when the hub first opened on Jan. 21, 2012.

“Now, we’ve expanded greatly,” Pinson said. “We’ve had over 100,000 attendants last year and we already need to grow. There is huge demand for more gyms, more time on the walking tracks, and some of our meeting rooms aren’t big enough to hold some of the events we have. We’re probably going to have to sit down and rethink the concept of the community center at some point.”

Pinson says there are no plans to grow right now.

“There are some plans to get some more equipment, to get more parking, and — well, maybe — get a skate park. But as of now there is nothing in terms of building on. We never thought this community center would be what it is now. Instead of a community center it has become a multi-cultural center.”

The community center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is at 214 Fredrick St. For more information on community center activities, call (706) 278-5404.