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Community Development Clubs: 50 years and going strong

By Staff
STEADY PROGRESS Jay Jolly, left, Frank Thompson, Dudley Sumrall and Gloria Jolly have seen a number of improvements to the Russell Community Club building over the years. First built in early 50's, the club progressed from a dirt floor pavilion into an air conditioned community meeting place. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
April 28, 2002
Frank Thompson remembers as a child tagging along with his parents to meetings at the Russell Community Development Club.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of community development clubs in Lauderdale County.
Seven clubs are currently operating in the area. They include: Causeyville, Center Hill, Collinsville, Long Creek, Northeast, Russell and Suqualena.
Needs change
Thompson, a third generation member and former president of Russell Community Development Club, believes the job of his club is to act as a tourism director or a Chamber of Commerce for the community.
New members needed
Membership in the seven clubs range from 18 to 49 people, most of whom seem to recognize that changing times bring new challenges.
In their second year as members of the Causeyville Community Development Club, DeWayne and Kim Morris, were elected president and secretary.
In Causeyville the community clubhouse sits about 20 feet from the youth baseball field.
Importance of CDC's
Community development clubs are used to inform people and present programs that bring forth issues.
For example, Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay recently spoke to Russell Club members about the county's upcoming property reappraisal process. Reappraisal notices are expected to go out by the end of this week.
In the Russell Community the issue of safe railroad crossings was a high priority after several motorists were killed at a main railroad intersection.
Clubs are also a way to meet your neighbors.
Thompson invites people to get involved in their community.
Strong echoes that sentiment: "Members of these clubs have a sense of pride in their communities."