By REBECCA HAZEN
New Home residents in Dade County are working to revive their community center after it was left without board members for many years.
Husband and wife Summer and Dennis Kelley helped to get things restarted. According to Summer, the idea of restarting the center was born out of necessity.
Dennis is the Fire Chief of the New Home Volunteer Fire Department. Summer is the secretary and safety officer for the Fire Department.
“There’s some equipment that we were getting for the department that requires the use of water. We figured the easiest thing to do would be to ask to pay for use of the water at the community center,” Summer explained.
The person that was overseeing the center is a member of the Pickers, a music group that plays each Monday at the Community Center.
“We asked him about taking over the water bill for them. He was not able to sign an agreement with us because he technically had not been elected to what he was doing, because there wasn’t a community board anymore,” Summer said.
According to Summer, there had been a board many years ago, in fact, she was a member at the time. Eventually the board members dwindled, due to people not being able to attend anymore, and the passing away of some members.
Summer reached out to the New Home community on Facebook, to see if there was any interest in restarting a board for the center.
“We got really good feedback. The fire department set up and hosted the first meeting,” Summer said. “We had about 30 to 40 people show up. We were excited.”
At that first meeting, everyone discussed the history of the community center, as well as goals for what they wanted going forward. They asked for volunteers to be on the board.
Staying quite busy with their fire department duties, the Kelleys opted to not become board members, but they are excited to assist the board members going forward.
“This community thrives on community relations and working with one another. They used to have parties and events at this location. We want this back in the community. We want a place to get together, and let the kids be kids. We have seen what the pandemic has done, and now it is time to get everybody back together,” Dennis said.
Jackie Lee Chambers, Jr., was voted as president of the council. Other members of the council include Warren Johnson, William Back, Patrick Hickey and Emily Simmons.
“I am 37, so I have been here in New Home for 37 years,” Chambers said. “I have lived in this community all my life; my wife and four kids are here too. We are involved in everything else. Why not make our Community Center better?”
Chambers wants to see the Community Center be as vibrant as it used to be when he was a child.
“They had music shows, square dancing, bake sales, all kinds of stuff. There was constantly something going on every week. I have a lot of memories there,” Chambers said.
Chambers continued, “We hope to get something going at least once a month, so it doesn’t look like just an empty run-down building. We want to do some updates to the building too. We have a list of things that have been neglected over the years.”
For more information, New Home Community Center can be found on Facebook. The Community Center is located at 3565 New Home Road, the same building as the fire department.