March 22, 2007
The new recreation center behind Dilworth Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School (formerly Dilworth Elementary) is now officially named for Tom Sykes III. Sykes, who died in 2005, was a tireless campaigner for better recreation opportunities in Dilworth, Freedom Park and Charlotte's inner city. He championed the vision that the Park and Recreation Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools could work together to develop the new recreation center in Dilworth.
A naming celebration and unveiling of a plaque will be held April 12 at 6 p.m. at the recreation center, 1501 Euclid Avenue. Jennifer Roberts, Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and Jim Garges, Director of Park and Recreation, will be featured speakers. Members of Sykes' family will participate.
The idea to name the center for Sykes came from residents of Dilworth who petitioned for it. It was also championed by the Dilworth Community Development Association (DCDA), endorsed by the Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Commission and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. DCDA President John Fryday and DCDA Board Member Kirk Otey cited Syke's record as a youth sports coach, organizer, and commissioner for the Dilworth Little League program.
Sykes represented Charlotte's inner city neighborhoods on the Park and Recreation Commission from 1997 to 2003. He served as Vice-Chairman of the commission in 1999 and 2000. He also chaired the Central III Park District Advisory Council and was an enthusiastic advocate for developing "sportsplex" parks around Mecklenburg County. He said sportsplexes, complexes of several athletic fields, would serve both local community needs and support tournament play to create significant new economic activity. Sykes campaigned hard for bond issues in 1999 and 2004 for new park and recreation facilities.
The naming celebration includes a reception and tour of the facility, with music presented by students at the center's piano instruction program. For details of programs and activities at Tom Sykes Recreation Center, click