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How Race and Deception Are Cleaving the Fate of Bunnell’s Carver Gym

| June 22, 2010

Carver Gym won't be a bikable destination for South Bunnell for much longer if the County Commission has its way. (© FlaglerLive)

Carver Gym on East Drain Street is the most imposing structure in South Bunnell, the poorest and most neglected area of town and a black ghetto in all but name. The gym is all that remains of George Washington Carver High School. That, and a big banner under the scoreboard inside the gym that reads, in capital letters: “CARVER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES AND STUDENTS OF 1949-1969,” in the school’s blue and yellow colors.

The A marks Carver Gym's location in south Bunnell.

The neighborhood is visibly short on the usual suburban comforts and assumptions. It’s the sort of place where people air out their laundry because they can’t afford driers, where tenants are too busy surviving to worry about beautifying lots or repairing broken windows, where unemployed men while away afternoons under a tree and where white people are looked at suspiciously, if they venture there to start with. Carver Gym is all there is by way of activities within walking distance for the neighborhood’s children, 30 of whom filled the gym floor or the play room Wednesday afternoon, playing basketball, playing video games, playing on the sole computer available for the children’s uses.

Now the Flagler County Commission wants to close the gym to save $117,000 a year.

Monday evening, Daisy Henry, the Bunnell County Commission’s only black commissioner (in a city that’s one-third black) appeared before the County Commission and said this: “The county commissioners took it upon themselves to delete the only recreational building that is on the all-black portion of the county. It appears to me that it’s a racial issue. History is forever. We as black people have tried to forget the past and focus on now and the future of our children, but are seeing that the county commissioners are trying to reinforce segregation in 2010.”

Commissioner Milissa Holland said she was “offended” by the suggestion that race is playing a role in the commission’s decision.

Listen to the Full Carver Gym Discussion and Public Comments at the June 21 Meeting
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

“That just clearly is not the case,” Holland said. “I can speak for myself. Underneath my foundation”—the James F. Holland Foundation—“I’ve held several basketball tournaments out at Carver Gym, supplying the children out there with basketballs, t-shirts, dj’s, and have spent several hours out there. This, to me, came about, and why we’re discussing it, is because Carver Gym is within another jurisdiction. It is not in the unincorporated area of Flagler County. It is within the city of Bunnell. The county recently adopted a strategic plan laying out how we’re going to prioritize our goals and objectives. We did this actually to become more efficient as a government, to become somewhat more goal-oriented and strategic about how we do spend our resources. We felt it necessary to plan for our future as we move forward, due to the fact that obviously a shortage in revenues three years in a row made us make some difficult decisions and choices. Not always easy decisions or choices.”

A Divide of Perceptions

Holland’s words were sincere, and her record proves it. The same words, however, underscore the divide of perception cleaving the County Commission from Bunnell’s black residents, showing why Henry, too, was sincere, and why the two sides have a problem on their hands that cold numbers and strategic goals have nothing to do with.

Holland’s talk of “strategic plan” and prioritizing “goals and objectives” and becoming “more goal-oriented and strategic” only amplified the sense that a bureaucratic decision alone mattered, and that human and historical realities don’t. Much of that reality is historically unflattering to the county’s white power structure, especially in Bunnell, where blacks have bitter memories of being treated like second-class citizens.

Several people spoke to that reality Monday evening without needing to allude to race. “It’s very important that we keep Carver Gym open for the kids in the community as well as giving them something to do,” said Weldon Ryan, a retired police detective from New York City, down here five years. “There’s nothing else that’s available for the kids in Bunnell,” he continued. “There’s no reason at all, even for $100,000, to close it down, because we can find other moneys elsewhere to fill whatever budget gaps we might have.”

County Commission Chairman George Hanns then opened discussion between commissioners by making one of the most disingenuous comments of the evening: “From what I understand, nothing has been determined on this subject.” He said the board had merely sent a letter to the Bunnell city commission and the Flagler County School Board “to see if they were interested in helping financially.” He added again: “It has not been a determination of this board to close the Carver Gym.” Disingenuous on all counts.

Bob Abbott: “Let’s Get Rid of It”

Listen to the Commission’s Full June 14 Discussion on Closing Carver Gym
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Just one week earlier at a commission workshop, commissioners couldn’t be more explicit. They wanted the thing closed.

Holland: “I don’t think we need to further take on this responsibility. That’s $100,000 a year savings, and in these times, that’s significant. And I also think that the residents of Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, Beverly Beach, Marineland, do not need to be paying for the services, recreational services, of Bunnell.”

“I agree,” Commissioner Barbara Revels said, specifying later that she was interested at most in maintaining a $15,000 commitment to mow the lawn and keep the building minimally acclimatized and in good repair, and even then, only temporarily. She did want the building used by other services, but not underwritten with county money. “I also do not want to end up with another building that we are keeping mold from growing in by spending $15,000. We do not need another empty building.”

'Get rid of it': The activities wall at Carver Gym (© FlaglerLive)

Hanns himself: “It’s not like we didn’t talk about it,” he said, referring to discussions he’d had with Armando Martinez, going back to last year, as well as at a joint Bunnell-county workshop, to get Bunnell to take over the property. But Bunnell has no money.

Commissioner Alan Peterson: “I’d like to see us tell the city of Bunnell that we want some kind of sharing. If they say, well, I’m sorry, we’re poor, we can’t, then we just close it.”

Commissioner Bob Abbot remained silent throughout. “So Bob, what do you want, you want to cold-turkey this?” Peterson asked toward the end of the discussion, to be certain about the board’s direction. “I mean, I haven’t seen a majority that says they want to just close it.”

“I think last year I said the same thing that you’re saying now,” Abbott replied. “Let’s get rid of it.”

“Okay,” Peterson said. “So clearly the majority wants to drop it.”

(On Wednesday, Hanns clarified that should the issue come to a vote, he’ll vote against closing Carver Gym, as he has in previous attempts to close it over the years. “Without a doubt. Nothing will change my mind,” Hanns said. “I don’t want to hear about early intervention,” he said, referring to county officials’ frequent discussions of providing alternative programs to children to keep them from ending up in the juvenile justice stream, “and then you close the gym?”)

The letter the commission sent to Bunnell and the school board was just as explicit: “At the conclusion of the discussions,” Hanns wrote both agencies in reference to the June 14 meeting, “the majority of the commissioners favored the potential closing of Carver Gym.” The letter invites Bunnell and the school board to take over the programs at the gym. But Bunnell has already made clear that it doesn’t have the money, and Bill Delbrugge, the outgoing school superintendent, said on Tuesday that the school board already owns the property.  “The partnership that we have is, we gave the building and the property to the county,” Delbrugge said. “That’s over $1 million in property and the building there.” (Read the full letter.)

Public Comments. Public Outcry.

Funny how being faced in person with the compelling voices of several members of the community—the black community—changed the commissioners’ tunes, slightly, last night.

“We always look at everything, and unfortunately, when you’re discussing things at a public meeting, you know, they come out, and it sometimes could appear that a decision already has been made, and that is not the case,” Hanns said. “But I can assure you, it will be well advertised, and if it does come on the agenda, you’ll have every opportunity to speak to it.”

Hanns and Holland said something else that raises questions: that the county is getting out of the business of paying for recreational services that aren’t in their jurisdiction. Hanns referred to the Youth Center on the campus of Flagler Palm Coast High School: “We funded and built the youth center. We built the roller rink. It’s financed through Flagler County. Every year, thousands of children have benefited by that program. I will say this though: the school board mans it. Now that we have it in, commissioners are I guess welcome but they don’t really recognize us, the ones that were involved in putting it all together.”

The gym. (© FlaglerLive)

Hanns didn’t specify what he should have: the county pays $110,000 a year, almost the same amount that it does for Carver Gym, to pay for the staffing at the Youth Center, even though the staffers’ paychecks there are signed by the school board. No one is talking about getting the county out of Youth Center funding.

That $110,000 line item was just that: one line in the county’s 104-page budgeting documents at the June 14 meeting. (See the line on the page in the budgeting document.)

A Budgeting Tale of Two Centers

Those budget documents are a curious thing. The county administration presented them to the County Commission as part of the commission’s budgeting process. Carver Gym expenses were broken out and outlined over five pages. The Youth Center’s expenses, because they’re wrapped under the school board’s administration, were not. It’s one way to keep the glare away from those programs the county doesn’t want to touch, as opposed to the ones it deems ready for the chopping block. But anyone associated with Carver Gym might wonder at some of the figures that went into the gym’s budget.

The $117,000 cost of running Carver Gym, listed on the county’s budgeting documents, is inflated. It assumes that the building’s air conditioning, which wasn’t working on Wednesday, would cost $5,900 a year, that a single “outside light” would cost $324 a year, which would make it the single most expensive “outside light” in the county, and that the gym’s one Brighthouse Internet connection costs $135 a month, or more than $100 a month more than what Brighthouse advertises as its basic rate for high-speed Internet (the gym has no cable-TV hook-up). That Internet cost doesn’t include the gym’s phone costs. Budget figures assume a total “communications” cost of $2,000 for the gym, a figure that would make someone familiar with the “communications” system there laugh. The gym employs two people. Their salaries are $26,700 and $27,700, plus benefits.

Carver Gym's game room. No cable TV. (© FlaglerLive)

One other thing that stands out, as indisputable as it is unspoken: Virtually all the children who go to Carver Gym are black. The majority of children who go to the Youth Center or use its rink are white. It’s not necessarily by design, at least not current design. But it’s reality. And Bunnell’s blacks would know better than anyone when they’d be treated like second-class citizens—just as Carver Gym, which also serves as a community center, doesn’t appear on the list of community centers on the county’s website. If the county thinks people don’t notice these things, their ears have more tin than wax to worry about.

“It’s the beginning to our future.”

James E. Crocket Sr., whose coaching protégés include the soccer star Eddie Johnson and who’s been involved in Flagler athletics for 15 years, put it this way to commissioners: “I’m originally from New York City. Down here, I worked with the Department of Juvenile Justice for eight years. I worked in New York with the criminally insane on Ward’s Island and Harlem. I know what it is to see individuals with nothing to do positive. There is nothing left but negativity if there’s nothing positive to do in your community, in your neighborhood. Carver Gym is the only thing that those youths have to do in that community.”

Maybe the county doesn’t need two youth centers. And certainly, the county is strapped for money, as much by the economy as by its own decision (and voters’ demands) not to raise taxes to provide needed services. But there are greater consequences to the closing of Carver Gym than a mere attempt to close a budget gap suggests. Or than commissioners are willing to accept. If commissioners weren’t aware of the sensitivity of the issue, and the wounds they’d reopen by closing the gym, they were made aware of that sensitivity Monday evening.

To their credit, commissioners did show hints of moderating their position, compared with their cold-turkey take on closing the place a week earlier. Still, they can persist with closing and face hardly any political backlash: Bunnell’s south side is not a voting block anyone outside town worries about. The neighborhood shows it. The decision to carry out the closing of Carver Gym, should it get to that, would prove it yet again for the old ghetto, where, to quote Faulkner, “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

'It's the beginning of our future,' James Crocket said of Carver Gym. (© FlaglerLive)

What Washington Carver High School looked like in 1973. (Flagler County Historical Society, with thanks to Sisco Deen).

19 Responses for “How Race and Deception Are Cleaving the Fate of Bunnell’s Carver Gym”

  1. Cathy says:

    I think we need to keep Carver Gym. There is so much potential and possibilities. I’m sure there are grants and other funding opportunities out there to bring more programs to the area to cover some of these costs. To loose this gym would have a bigger impact to the community than you realize.

  2. Ralph Belcher says:

    Indeed, keep the Carver Gym going. The City of Bunnell ought to pony up (but how?) indeed. I was embarrassed to hear City Commissioner so anxious to throw the race card out there like she did. Please tell me this was just a tactic or technique of hers. She’s carried herself in a very highly and respectable manner anytime I’ve ever seen her in public. I fear it laid a degree of dishonor to the other fine citizens that made very good points on why we need to keep the Carver Gym in operation. Do any members of the County Commission have an axe to grind about Bunnell? I don’t know for sure, but it made sense to me that this is an economic reality with property values dropping quite significantly.

    All that aside, the benefits of keeping a viable recreational program at Carver far, far outweigh the costs of having it closed in terms of investing in our youth. Especially with our disadvantaged youth. I used to be one myself and now a respectable citizen who in some degree supports the community I live in.

  3. Sarah says:

    Realistically what needs to be done, is the projects need to be demolished. Everyone living on government monies needs to find a new place to live. The Projects are damn near condemned. There is nothing healthy about drinking under the oak tree at 5 am, these drunks start fights, set fires in burn barrels that Bunnell Fire Departments have to put out, steal, and who pays for the Police to come out and the Fire department the tax dollars of the homeowners from the City of Bunnell. For the majority these people do not pay taxes because they don’t own homes, they pay $80.00 a month in rent and get Food Stamps, and Cash Assistance to pay there bills, in short they play the system. There Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Sisters, Brothers, are using or selling some type of illegal drugs and Playing the welfare card as well. What these “People” need to do is raise your children with some manners and not be so concerned with having a “gym” on that side of town because it will only be utilized by the blacks as stated in this article whites are not welcomed on that side of town. The Majority of Property Owners in Bunnell are White……so the Whites have to pay for a gym for the Blacks….so that we don’t discriminate. here is my question don’t we pay for enough for you people? Medicaid, Food Stamps, Cash Assistance, Free Legal Aid, The Fire Department, The Ambulance, and the Police when you deiced to have “a knife fight in the ghetto”. Racism is still alive and well in Flagler County, and so is the Good Ole Boy’s Network……..Good luck keeping your gym… doesn’t look good for you! Here is an idea! Why don’t you ask Mardy Gilyard to purchase the building and maintain it! I am opposed to spending $117,000.00 a year to keep that gym open, I hope they demolish it as well as the ghetto.

  4. Pierre Tristam says:

    Sarah, your comments are so bigoted, so ignorant, so stuck in Reagan-era idiocy (the Reagan who gave us that lie about “welfare queens” after himself being saved from eviction from a mansion he lived in while governor, by friends who bailed him out) as to warrant at least some thanks: you’ve just illustrated precisely the sort of racist contempt that condemns Bunnell’s south-side residents to their second-class status, although in your eyes I imagine they’re beneath second class.

    A few correctives. First, there’s no mention of anyone drinking under trees at 5 a.m. in this article.

    Second, whether people own homes or rent, they’re paying property taxes: who do you think pays landlords’ taxes? The European Commission? If their rent is subsidized, they’re still paying their share of sales taxes, which in Florida account for a quarter of all state tax revenue. So spare us your they-don’t-pay-taxes mantra.

    Third, the majority—the absolute majority—of drug addicts, even in Flagler, is white. Just because your neighbors can afford cocaine and smoke up their Gucci joints in private doesn’t make them more honorable addicts than police’s low-hanging fruit on street corners (or, in Bunnell’s case, police’s addicts in their own ranks, as we now know).

    Fourth, your white drunk friends don’t drink under a tree because they at least have air conditioning, not to mention cars to go to bars with and to use to kill our children while driving home drunk. At least people who drink under their yard trees are responsible enough not to turn themselves into lethal weapons.

    Fifth, “you people”? Seriously? In 2010?

    Finally, your comment: “Everyone living on government monies needs to find a new place to live.” Then be the first to bail out of your house, if you are one of those vaunted property owners: if you filed for your annual mortgage-interest deduction, you’re on more government assistance than any of those “people” you referred to. Or how about the thousand-dollar-per-child tax credit you might have been glad to grasp by April 15? Or how about the $8,000 in government cash you got just for buying a house in the past two years? And that’s direct cash. Since you woke up this morning you probably made use of two dozen government services that cost us, willing taxpayers, plenty. But I suspect it’d be a waste of time explaining it to you, since you’re more interested in demeaning people and casting stones from your tax-subsidized glass house than using a shard or two of that glass as a mirror.

    Thanks again for making the article’s point.

  5. Stokely Carmicheal says:


    Where is your next KKK meeting? My friends and I have a package that we would like to deliver. Do you have your hood and sheet hidden in your closet or do you wear it for all to see?

  6. Kevin says:

    With all due respect, speaking from the poster boy of ad hominem attacking, why speak that way to Sarah? She is obviously disgusted for she see are valid observations. One cannot tell what is in her heart but I suppose one can hypothesize and making broad assumptions but that isn’t intellectually accurate wihtout knowing the larger picture about her as a whole. Can you say the things she notices don’t occur? I do agree that children, teens and anyone not participating in crime and wanting to live as a productive citizen should have a place to go. The wanna-be thugs in the ‘hood deserve to be booted from the housing if they are not going to take steps to better their lives with the assistance they receive.

    Personally I believe that people on Tax-payer assistance of any sort should be held to standards of accountability exhibiting that they are trying to get ahead instead of languishing in their self-perpetuated hardships.

  7. Chris Borgmann says:

    To Sarah and all other racists across Flagler County:

    I am a combat-veteran of the United States Army. I personally put my life on the line to defend the rights and freedoms of the honorable citizens of this great country of ours, including the people of Bunnell (both Black and White) and also the trailer trash racists (like yourself) across Flagler County, whose level of intellect are the topic of such humor due to the comments and inaccuracies of statements made by such people. I am a white male and I recently moved to Flagler County with my African-American wife and our three children and I can promise you that our Palm Coast home is much nicer and more expensive than the trailer you currently reside in, the point being that all African-Americans don’t live in the ghetto and don’t live on government assistance. The truth about drugs in the city of Bunnell is that the majority of people who purchase drugs in Bunnell are white people (Sarah is probably one). But that is neither here nor there. What is important is the circumstances surrounding this issue that you so blatently cannot comprehend.

    There are innocent children who are victims of society that are about to have the only positive building in their community shut down by an all white board of county commissioners. These kids didn’t ask to live in the environment that they currently reside, but they make no complaints about it either. They do the best with what they have, and what little they have is about to be taken away from them by this all white board of county commissioners who can’t comprehend the value of this recreation center to the community. Sometimes there are more important things to consider other than money. My wife and I personally volunteer our free time at the Carver Gym by interacting with the children who frequent the gym and I can honestly say that these are some of the best children I have ever had the pleasure of being around. The decision to close the Carver Gym because of money is not only a weak excuse at best, it is ignorant to the significance of this building to the community. I personally take my hat off to Pastor Henry for calling this exactly what it is; “A Racial Issue”. If this panel of county commissioners were all black and decided to start shutting down recreation centers in Palm Coast there would be a revolution in Flagler County. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s a duck. This is a “Racial Issue”. I am white and can see that, come on. Do you really expect the parties involved to come out and admit this is a racial issue?. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the county commissioners are racist, what I am saying is that as soon as it became clear to the board that the county budget needed to be cut, it is too obvious that the first place they decided to start implementing budget cutbacks was the only part of the County that could least afford it, the part of Bunnell surrounding the Carver Gym. Why didn’t they shut down recreational centers in other parts of the county? In neighborhoods that didn’t depend so much on the existence of such centers as do the people that frequent the Carver Gym. I am a tax-paying citizen of Flagler County and I was raised that when your fellow Americans need help or might be in a less fortunate situation than yourself, the Christian thing to do is to help them out. I have no problem with my tax monies being spent to save the Carver Gym. The advantage of fighting in a war is that you depend on your fellow soldiers on your left and right to help keep you alive. When you are being shot at you don’t care if your fellow soldiers are black, white, spanish, or chinese. It is a slap in the face for every person who ever defended this great country, to make such racial remarks. These types of people should not be allowed to be considered Americans as their opinions are in contrast to what this country represents.

    To Mr. Pierre Tristam: This is one of the best pieces of journalism that I have ever seen in my life. Your ability to objectively report the facts as they are so evident, without covering up for the politicians involved, makes you an outstanding reporter and human being. This article is right on the money and expresses the problem that has existed in Bunnell and Flagler County for years. The complaints that you are receiving and will continue to receive are from those citizens who have been part of the problem in keeping the “Good Ol’ Boy” system alive in Flagler County for so long. Now they are afraid because your article has beagn to expose their actions and they realize that they can no longer function in the capacity that they have become so accustomed to in the past.

    In closing, I feel an obligation to address your usage of the phrase “those people”. “Those people’s” ancestors were brought, against their will, to this country to do all of the work and labor that your ancestors were too lazy to do. “Those people” were cowardly attacked repeatedly over decades both physically and mentally by your ancestors. “Those people” fought hard for their rights and freedoms, unlike anything you have ever had to experience. “Those people” were visciously mistreated for years by this country before being recognized as citizens. “Those people” produced some of the greatest men and women that our country has ever seen. “Those people” are one of the reasons that America is the great country that it is today. “Those people” are my friends, my neighbors, and my fellow Americans.

  8. Pierre Tristam says:

    Chris, thank you. Your last line is the subtitle to our national anthem.

    This afternoon I received the following email from Carl Laundrie, the county commission’s communications director, who usually makes my job much easier and does his better than most in the business:

    In the interest of fairness and truth and “no smudges” County Commission Chairman George Hanns signed the letter in his role as chairman. The letter was directed by the County Commission and written by the staff. Chairman Hanns is quite correct and accurate in saying that no decision has been made about the Carter Gym. I have been to many final budget hearings of the County Commission at which last minute changes were made.

    The budget workshop sessions are just as the name implies, workshops. All the cards are on the table and all aspects of the county budget are discussed. The budget is final and adopted only after the second and final public hearing on the budget in September.

    Flagler County government is as transparent as possible. The workshop’s audio is broadcast on the county website live and available in archives. The entire budget and the material the County Commission reviews is also available on the website. Their regular meetings are on cable TV and streamed on the website and available by date at the click of a mouse. Open exchange of ideas and suggestions between county citizens and their elected officials at the county level is how budgets should be formed and eventually adopted.

    Calling Chairman Hanns’ statement disingenuous is not fair or accurate. Carver gym will be discussed several times before the final public hearings on the budget and a decision is made. And at the final budget hearing will also be many residents calling for the County to cut the budget.

    The article failed to mention that if it wasn’t for Flagler County government the Carver Gym would be nothing but a memory. For the last 30 years Flagler County has carried on a program there. About three years ago, the facility was refurbished with a new gym floor etc.

    Of course I disagree. Disingenuous should have been the headline, especially with the suggestion that workshops are not where decisions are made–or that Carver Gym would have gotten the slightest mention had people not spoken up about it. Until Monday night, it was as done a deal as Abbott’s astoundingly blinkered “get rid of it.” Even I’d missed the story initially. Transparency had the effect (desired for the community, undesired by the commission) to bring the issue back to the fore. But transparency isn’t the commission’s favor to the community. It’s the law. And it’s besides the point here. The point is that commissioners are dropping the moral ball on this one.

  9. Chris Borgmann says:

    Sometimes the truth hurts. When confronted with their own personal opinions as heard on the audio recording of the budget committee worskhop from June 14th, the county commissioners changed their tune immediately Monday night. It is easy for them to make decicions among themselves when not in the presence of those citizens who will drastically be affected by the closure of the Carver Gym, but it is obvious by the manner in which the commissioners addressed the citizens who were present at the Monday night board meeting that these same commissioners are unable to express their true intentions of what they would like to see done with the Carver Gym while in the presence of the same citizens. Where I come from we call those kinds of actions “Cowardice”. To say one thing when certain people are not around, and then change your position when confronted by those people is so unprofessional. Everyone who has heard the audio recording of the Budget Committee Meeting and who has sequentially heard the statements expressed in Monday night’s board meeting have all felt the same way; that the county commissioners are not being truthful. This is blatently obvious!

    In regards to the e-mail you received, how dare this person brag about the support of the county as it relates to the Carver Gym. Name one thing, other than the Gym that the county is doing for that community? We are talking about a part of the county that needs the most help and assistance in regards to social programs, recreational programs, and educational activities for kids whose parents are poverty stricken and are unable to provide such activities. It is a shame that the county has neglected these citizens and this community for so long. These citizens pay taxes just as do those throughout the rest of the county. And to say that the county has carried the Gym for 30 years? Really? That Gym is in such bad condition that, rather than shutting down the Gym, the county should be discussing the steps needed to make the necessary renovations that the Gym is in such dire need of. There were times this past winter when the Gym had to be closed due to the heat not working in the Gym. The construction of the Gym is so old that it is probably the subject of numerous code violations. As stated in your article, the A/C is a joke. Other than putting in a new floor (and that is the only thing that was done, the Gym was not refurbished as claimed in the e-mail), it is my honest opinion that the county has footed the bill on the Gym just to say that they were doing something for the African-American community of Bunnell. After all, let’s be honest, other than the Gym what else does the County actually do for these citizens? What county sponsored programs or recreational activities sponsored by the county exist for the kids in that area. And we wonder why some of the problems that plague this community exist. Because the county has ignored these citizens and their community for too long. And now they want to take out the single most important facility in this neighborhood, the Gym. These are really great leaders who we have elected to office. If $100,000 is going to break the county budget then we have some poor managers of our tax funds. Why is their no talk of suspending operations at the Flagler County Youth Center where the city pays $110,000 in employee salaries? Maybe because it is located in a part of the county where there isn’t a large population of African-Americans or is it that the politicians are concerned with the citizens who vote and live in the community nearest the Flagler County Youth Center.

    Keep up the great work Mr. Tristam, you are right on point!!!

  10. Kevin says:

    Wonderful! Listen to the blowhard Chris Borgmann the last bastion of intellect left on this planet. God, I must have been obnoxious as hell when I commented, much as he does now, at various sites. I recall taking a beating. Time flies.

    “I personally put my life on the line to defend the rights and freedoms of the honorable citizens of this great country of ours, including the people of Bunnell (both Black and White) and also the trailer trash racists (like yourself) across Flagler County, whose level of intellect are the topic of such humor due to the comments and inaccuracies of statements made by such people.” Bravo for you former soldier and let me buy you a refreshing glass of…shut your big mouth you blowhard!

    You are the joke and here is another example: “I can promise you that our Palm Coast home is much nicer and more expensive than the trailer you currently reside in” Oh my, I suppose your notion having a nicer house than someone else is all the validation you need to think you are more successful, correct? What do your comments indicate about your ignorance and apparent lack of scholarly background?

    “The truth about drugs in the city of Bunnell is that the majority of people who purchase drugs in Bunnell are white people (Sarah is probably one).” Maybe you are simply that buys nice things and goes into debt simply to compensate for other inadequacies you have. Isn’t that about the same thing as you calling Sarah a drug user without knowing her? Is this the “truth” according to you, Garp? I do not know but maybe you can prove it with a citation or two for us to check.

  11. Chris Borgmann says:

    Get a life Kevin! You ought to broaden your intelect beyond the confines of your West Flagler (Mondecks) mentality! I bet you fly a Rebel flag on your porch and sleep in your bed with your dog. You probably drive a pick up truck with empty budweiser cans laying in the bed of your truck. Hell, I bet you are probably Sarah’s high school sweetheart! Your justification for your place in life is probably limited to deer hunting and swamp buggy’s. Put some bass in your voice when you talk to a real man little boy. By the way, your redneck sentiments explain the ignorant aspirations that is evident in your comments. Back to the farm Kevin!!! LOL

  12. Bob K says:

    Wow! After reading through all this, I’ve reached a few conclusions; I think we certainly need to find a way to keep this gym open. I have always been of the thought that adults are of their own making; children, on the other hand, have no control what they are born into and shouldn’t be penalized for what they can’t control. The gym is the only place these kids have to go to recreate and forget about what may be wrong at home. Now, I don’t know much about the county financing system to know if they fund other venues OUTSIDE OF THEIR JURISDICTION. If so, then the Carver Gym is certainly deserving of at least some funding from the county as well. Perhaps a private fundraiser would help, and maybe have volunteers do some of the ongoing maintenance to help lower the cost burden. The gym issue aside, it seems many have some illegitimate prejudices with regard to each other; “Reagan-era idiocy?” And Sarah, well, what can I say, other than I didn’t think there were any of you left in the world? “Redneck, West Flagler mentality” where we sleep with our dogs and have beer cans in the back of our pickup trucks? I can’t decide between Sarah and Chris who’s got more inaccurate preconceived notions and prejudices; I guess Chris’s are OK because they’re against white people. I say shame on all of you.

  13. Chris Borgmann says:

    My apologies for entertaining some of the previous comments. I was being sarcastic for the most part. The point is that something needs to be done to keep the Carver Gym open. The children are the ones who will suffer in the long run if this gym closes. Everyone needs to come together and find a way to keep this gym operational. Closing the Carver Gym is not an option!!!

  14. Mandy says:

    When shit flies like this…you know you’ve got a great piece of journalism. Nice.

  15. Weldon Ryan says:

    Wow! This is quite a thread! Pierre really got to the bottom line and laid it out nicely for all to see. Unfortunately, instead of kevin seeing the big picture he wants to lash out at a Combat veteran. When football came to Bunnell with the Raiders it was Carver Gym that was our hub. We used the field next to Carver with the realization that our children in Bunnell couldn’t afford Pop Warner and had no transportation to get them to practice outside of Bunnell. When we had home games at the Eddie Johnson Soccer field all of Bunnell had a positive evening. Unfortunately we cannot raise the funds this year, But Carver Gym is there. It has been a stable and effective way to help the children in Bunnell for years by giving them some positive recreational activities. It is a central part of all of their lives and to immediately bring out the ax yo cut the funding for Carver Gym is insensitive. If the people didn’t come out Monday it would be a done deal. Unfortunately it’s about votes and the skin you’re in.

  16. Kevin says:

    WR: I see the “big picture” but unlike you, I see the smaller details in what I thought was an ugly reply to an innocuous comment. Not seeing what I noticed speaks volumes about yours and Borgmann’s boorishness.

    I see the point Pierre makes and I do not disagree with it. If one would read my initial volley, one might notice I said this:

    “I do agree that children, teens and anyone not participating in crime and wanting to live as a productive citizen should have a place to go. The wanna-be thugs in the ‘hood deserve to be booted from the housing if they are not going to take steps to better their lives with the assistance they receive. ”

    Brogmann was completely out of line. He goes on even further a second time to rationalize his comments along with a dash of contempt and insults which are probably based more on his personal life and shortcomings than those he attacks. All I did was spotlight this as evidenced by those things called words that I placed in quotations.

    Just because he was a soldier doesn’t give him the authority to make wild assumptions and insult people. And yeah, wild assumptions and racist he is. It is he who brought skin color and ad hominem attacks into this. Assumptions…I live in South Florida and if he knew me better, he would be less inclined I believe to compare himself to myself and others.

    Those are my final points on this matter. I really don’t want to stink this website up with never ending repugnant comments and rhetoric.

  17. Chris Borgmann says:

    Great post Ryan! Unfortunately some people will never be able to grasp this point of this issue because of their true personal beliefs.

    Kevin, grow up dude! First of all (“I live in South Florida and if he knew me better, he would be less inclined I believe to compare himself to myself and others.”), you don’t know me either Bro. I am the least racist person you will ever know. In case you missed my earlier posts (or just can’t read) I am “white”. So am I racist against my own race??? LOL. What I do have a prejudice against is people who try to insult other people because of the color of thier skin. I am prejudice against people who fly the Rebel flag because, being a white male, I know what that Rebel flag represents and the true personal beliefs of those who take pride in what it stands for. My comments in response to earlier posts were not my true feelings but rather words typed on a computer to give obviously blatent racists a taste of their own medicine. If you were offended by such comments then maybe you are part of them and might want to do some soul searching to resolve those issues.

    “Just because he was a soldier doesn’t give him the authority to make wild assumptions and insult people.”
    You are absolutely right, and I would never expect of such, but it does give me a right to voice my opinion unlike you. You probably think that your rights and freedoms are automatic just because you were born a citizen of this great country of ours. Well they’re not. They were paid for by brave young men and women who unselfishly gave of themselves so that you could voice your opinion, as construed as it may be.

    Now the “South Florida” thing. Once again you are talking about something you know nothing about. My “African-American” wife (I know that just burns you up…lol) and our family just relocated to Flagler County 3 years ago from South Florida. We are natives of Miami for 37 years. Likewise, if you knew me you probably wouldn’t let half the stuff come out of your mouth as you so disrepectfully have in these posts. When “trying” to engage in intellectual conversation you might want to have a complete knowledge of the subject matter before your let words leave your lips. Not to mention, if you still live in South Florida then you really have little knowledge of how bad this situation is up here in Flagler County. I have lived in both, therefore I can give a better opinion of how bad this situation is up here. In South Florida you don’t see the Rebel flag flying from automobiles or on t-shirts as you so widely see it up here. To compare the atmosphere of South Florida to the situation in Flagler County is like night and day. The racial tensions that exist up here are much more prevalent than what one would experience in South Florida. It is not even close.

    That brings us to your final “shortcoming”. You have continuously missed the point of Mr. Pierre’s article. The kids in the city of Bunnell are going to suffer the consequences of the decision of this all white board of county commissioners deciding to close down the only recreational outlet for them in their community. Your “prejudice” remarks about “the wanna-be thugs in the ‘hood deserve to be booted from the housing if they are not going to take steps to better their lives with the assistance they receive” has nothing to do with the children in this article. Are you suggesting that since you have a problem with the “wanna-be-thugs in the hood” that the kids should pay the price by your supporting of closing the gym??? How intelligent is that??? The fact is that if we don’t give this kids some form of positive recreational and educational activities to participate in, they could be the next generation of problems in that community. We are trying to break a pattern that has been consistent in this commuunity for several years. It is horrible to think that people would want to make the children of this community suffer because of their personal prejudices. And this is America??? WOW!!!

  18. Lorine says:

    Carver Gym is a historial site ( maybe not in years but yet) and should be viewed as such as much as Holden House. For those of you posting, forced intergration in Flagler County was not pleasant for those of us who endured it, we did what was expected. The children need ALL of us. As in the past Carver gym is not just for blacks, it’s for the community as a whole. The Carver site was utilized by the school system for students (black & white) in the early 70’s. Why should we go backwards are we really that small. Can’t we all just get along and start looking for productive ways to make this a better place for the CHILDREN. Be Blessed.

  19. Devrie says:

    Sarah said that whites weren’t welcomed at the gym, and I just wanted to respond to her comment. I’m white, and when the Boys and Girls Club was fully operational there, they were more then willing to accecpt my daughter into the program (though it just wouldn’t have worked with my work schedule).

    Furthermore, it’s entirely easy to put all of these South Bunnell residents into a neat little category of being lazy or somehow ignorant of the needs of their children, but the truth is far from that. There are, by the way, a great deal of homes owned by those black residents on the streets outlining the projects.

    With no fully operational County library, or other forms of recreation, nor many job opportunities, the closing of the Gym is a dismal step towards the abandonment of social and economic advancement of the youth in that community.

    I worked at a local nonprofit in that area, and I can tell you that many of those young people are aching for more community services. During a youth program in the summer through the Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, some of those very young people expressed that they wished there were more viable work opportunities for people in their community so that they were not pouring themselves into the sales of, as one yong Bunnell teen called it, “illegal products.”

    I think it would be great if local nonprofits could raise funds to help make the gym even better.

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