Program gives vision for green space

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

By Will Sullivan

Guest Columnist 

A jazz program at the Picayune Senior Center on Thursday demonstrates very well the possible future for the green space once occupied by Crosby Memorial Hospital, called here Crosby Green for purposes of brevity.

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While listening to the Picayune Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble, I couldn’t help but think about how such a program also could be performed on a covered stage at Crosby Green after it is developed as a small park in the center of the city to host that and other programs. Late spring, summer and fall evenings at the park could resound to the music of such an ensemble either from the PMHS or Pearl River Central High School, or by ensembles formed by members of the community band, or from invited groups.

Changes would have to be made to the ordinance governing Goodyear Boulevard, a course of action now under consideration by the Picayune City Council. That boulevard through the center of the city must be the only major thoroughfare in any city in the United States, maybe even the world, where parking is restricted so that no community events can be held after 9 p.m. without a special act by the city’s governing body, or without the complicity of the police force in ignoring enforcement of the law governing parking on that street. That thoroughfare, from the western end of the block on which St. Charles Catholic Church and Dungan Engineering sit all the way to U.S. Highway 11 is primarily commercial and governmental, and what property doesn’t fall into those categories is likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

Think if you will about the types of programs that can occur at Crosby Green, especially after the sun sets and the heat of our stifling South Mississippi summers begins abating. Musical groups of all types – jazz, classical, big band, Broadway show music, rock ’n’ roll, blues, pop, country and gospel — could perform on that stage, or quartets and other such small musical groups could even stroll along the walking trail that is planned for the park, stopping at various locations along the way to entertain residents out for a quiet, musical evening. The stage also could host productions of patriotic music and celebrations over the Fourth of July. High school theater groups from PMHS and PRC could demonstrate their talent on the stage as could Picayune On Stage, the local amateur theater group that is currently without a satisfactory home. We might even have an opera theatre develop locally to perform with such a venue

The number and types of programs that could take place at the green is limited only by one’s imagination.

For this to occur, though, those ridiculous restrictions governing parking along one of the city’s major thoroughfares must be changed.

Yes, this is likely to upset some people, especially those living near the boulevard, but other citizens living near other major thoroughfares in town – and out of town – already have adapted to the convenience – and inconvenience — of being in such locations. Certainly those living near Goodyear Boulevard also can adapt to the change.