Almost two years later, city has not renamed Powell Recreation Center

It’s been almost two years and the City of Monroe has yet to rename the Powell Street Neighborhood Center. In November of 2015, the Monroe City Council approved a resolution to rename the center in honor of Mr. Benny Ausberry and Mr. James “Coach” Hughey. However, nothing has been done on the approval since.

Ausberry was a former Monroe City Councilman, an educator and was known for his achievements and contributions to District 3. He was also involved in the transition of Monroe’s government from commission to the present Mayor/Council form of government. Hughey impacted the lives of many young men and women in various departments, especially in athletics, through activities in the community. The resolution of November 24, 2015 held that both Ausberry and Hughey gave unselfishly of their time to those less fortunate and they dedicated their lives to making life better for themselves, their families, and community. For their service the center would be renamed the Benny J. Ausberry/James “Coach” Hughey Community Center.

The resolution sparked a debate between community members present at the meeting and Council member Kenneth Wilson was not in favor of the resolution. Wilson said that Ausberry should be the single name on the building and not have to share it with Hughey.

“Mr. Ausberry told me before he passed that he wanted the center named after him,” Wilson said. He added that although Hughey was a great man, it was Ausberry who fought to change the form of government. He offered to name a football field or gym in his name but the building should get Ausberry’s name.

At the November 2015 meeting, a citizen, Ms. Marie Brown, spoke on the issue. She said that “sometimes we forget about the people in the trenches and the name Ausberry-Hughey sounds good.” She said that “Coach” worked with the children and he and Mr. Ausberry worked together.

“Sometimes we must honor heroes who were out doing those things that needed to be done and it’s not about one person and we should all begin working as a team,” Brown said.

Mr. Robert Johnson commented that he was pleased to see the resolution and that both Mr. Ausberry who worked hard to get the building approved and Coach Huey who worked with the youth at the recreation center and in the community and was in favor of the building being named after both.

Ms. Deborah Benton commented that both were wonderful men; comparing the two she felt the recreation center would be named after Mr. Ausberry as he was instrumental in getting the center, the 165 crosswalk and said he exceeds Coach Huey as he was a community activist, a pioneer.

“I searched the internet for both individuals and could not find anything on Coach Hughey. Respect should be given to the initiator of the center and that the center should be named after Mr. Ausberry,” Benton said.

Despite the debate and sentiments, when the vote was taken, the ayes prevailed. Councilwomen Gretchen Ezernack and Betty Blakes voted in favor, Councilman Kenneth Wilson voted against, Councilman Ray Armstrong abstained from voting and Councilman Eddie Clark was not present.

The Free Press spoke to City of Monroe’s Director of Community Affairs John Ross today and Ross said that he hasn’t heard anything about the measure but would look into it.

It’s approaching two years and Monroe City Council Resolution No. 6590 of November 24, 2015 stands on the record as passed, however the council’s wishes have not been executed.

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