JANS – Although Jackson has become known as a place lacking in sufficient water resources, an abandoned building has been renovated into a multi-sports facility, and is ironically named The Ark in hopes of curtailing the social ills flooding that community.
After 20 years of developing the concept of turning the once bustling Sam’s warehouse in South Jackson in a safe space for youth, State Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr. and his team finally realized their dream with the official opening of The Ark at 590 Raymond Rd., Jackson, on October 11, 2023. “The Ark was created as a safe haven for youth and their families, but also a sports complex where youth and young adults can come for training and mentorship,” explained Rep. Crudup.
“This facility was a dream come true, but especially for Charles Lewis and Denzel Jones. They have been working with and training youth in basketball for a number of years.”
Rep. Crudup also credits author/philanthropist Angie Thomas and friend Kia Smith. “I said, ‘I need y’all’s help. We want to build this facility, but I know it’s going to take a lot of money. Would y’all be willing to go for it?’ And they both said yes. So, once the ball got rolling with them folks, and guess the ball just kept rolling.”
Besides the three basketball courts and a weight-lifting area now in use, the facility will soon include facilities for baseball, soccer, golf, and tumbling.
Inspirational murals throughout The Ark is the artwork of Jackson artist/author Derek Perkins.
Dr. Adrianne Swinney is the Executive Director of The Ark and comes with an extensive background dealing in athletics, but also education.
More information can be found out about The Ark at www.theark601.org.