'Nurturing place': Generations thrive at community center

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


People often approach Lesia Davis with fond memories about Reid Street Community Center.

Some remember seeing singer James Brown perform there. Others remember being in the shoe-shining contest, roller skating in the multipurpose room or attending gospel concerts.

“Reid Street Community Center is very rich in history,” said Davis, the recreation center coordinator. “It has a lot of memories that people are proud of.

“We still continue to offer similar programs and opportunities, and we are still thriving, serving the citizens of Wilson.”

The facility was established as the community center in 1938 with a gymnasium and a small meeting room.

“We are working on our 81st year,” Davis said.

The center was expanded and rededicated on Dec. 8, 1957, by the city of Wilson, which maintains it to this day.

Linda Barnes, president of the Loyal Leisure Senior Club, said the center is “an integral part to the Wilson community.”

“Even during the days of segregation, it was a safe place and a friendly place with activities for the entire community, both old and young,” Barnes said.

“It continues to be that today. Although we have people from all areas visiting and participating, it still remains a central hub in the area for us for young and old alike.”

Barnes called the center “a learning place.”

“They can learn activities such as swimming. It is a safe place. It is a nurturing place,” Barnes said.

“If you will notice, we are sharing this building, and there are oftentimes interactions between the young and the old. As a matter of fact, our senior group donates money each year for the summer program, so it is just a great all-around place for them to be.”

On average in the summer months, between 300 and 500 people go through the facility on a daily basis.

“Seniors represent a vital part of our population, and it is important to keep them in engaged in programs and activities relevant to their age group,” Davis said.

“In addition, today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders, and when you can have that intergenerational interaction, it is amazing. It’s impressive the impact recreational programs can have on both generations.”