Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman will christen a youth center bearing his name during a groundbreaking ceremony Monday in his hometown of Greenwood — fulfilling a promise he made years ago to bring such a facility into the city limits.
Before shovels turn for the planned 12,000-square-foot facility that to be built inside a renovated Brewer Recreation Center at 927 E. Cambridge Ave., the County Council will meet to approve a lease agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakelands Region — which is partnering with Norman’s Starz24 Foundation.
County leaders are expected to meet at noon, with the invitation-only groundbreaking set for 1 p.m.
Norman, who was the Brewer Center in June for his “Family Fun Day,” said the center fulfills a dream he’s had for years — a legacy gift to the community that helped raise him and turn him into an All-Pro defensive back.
“It’s a childhood dream,” Norman told the Index-Journal last month. “The kids need it. I want to give them something to look forward to. I want to give them hope, and something to aspire to. This is what will bring it to them.”
Norman also credited the Boys and Girls Club for its role in helping to shepherd the project.
The building, to Norman, is a big step in guiding youth away from crime. The completion of it will be the realization of a vision he’s had for many years.
“This is everything,” Norman said. “This is what we’re here for. This is our purpose. This is what we’re here on this earth for. ... We will be able to serve over 600 kids and get them off the streets, with all that’s been going on lately. It will give them something to aspire and look forward to.”
Expansion of recreational opportunities for the city’s youth has become a focal point for civic leaders as a way to ward off future generations of children getting involved in violence. Last week, Next Level Fitness founder Jamar “Hoot” Crawford approached the City Council with plans to expand his gym into a space that can hold 500 people.
According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, Greenwood ranks as the 39th most dangerous city in America, with 13.5 violent crimes per 1,000 people.