LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) – The Lumbee Tribe of N.C. hosted a grounblessing for the construction of a new gymnasium as an addition to the Four Winds Community Building. The groundblessing is the Lumbee Tribe’s version of a groundbreaking ceremony. It was led by prayer and a smudging blessing followed. Two years went into discussing and planning this with hopes of bringing the community together. This new gymnasium with be for kids of the Boys & Girls club and others to use in the Saddletree community. The gym will be roughly 7300 square feet with a full court, bathrooms and a storage area.
Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, Manager of Youth Services for the Lumbee Tribe of N.C., says the Boys & Girls Club at Four Winds is their fastest growing club in the area. With that grow and the size of the original facility they’ve only been able to allow 1st-8th graders. The tribe plans to extend beyond those limitations.
“So it’s like you come on board, you fall in love with the Boys & Girls Club and after 8th grade because of space we were not able to have you here so this is just a sign of how supportive this community is of each other, how supportive they are of activities that is going to grow their community and make a better community,” Lowry-Townsend says.
Dewey McNeil, Tribal Councilmember/District 9, Saddletree, was in attendance of the ceremony and he says he’s excited to see where the Lumbee Tribe is headed.
“We’ve been waiting for years for a gym for our kids cause as you can see right now this is all they had for basketball. When it’s raining they can’t go in the inside and play,” McNeil says.
“This is going in the right direction. If you get kids and keep them occupied with stuff to do and educational resources then they are on the right track.”
Bradley Locklear, Housing Director of the Lumbee Tribe of N.C., says because of the pandemic, they haven’t been able to have kids at Four Winds. They will now have something to look forward to.
“The more assets you have towards providing services, providing space for your community members, but most importantly our children we really look forward to the day to the day and we expect when kids are going to return to our program they’ll return here and have a recreational space in addition to the community building to stretch their wings and grow,” Locklear says.
The project is expected to be completed by June 2021.