Galena Manor Senior Recreation Center Re-Opens

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park, TX ~ At 1508 Hunter Street, on December 7, 2023 in Galena Manor, Mayor Esmeralda Moya was introduced by GP Fire Chief Tom Ehlers. She thanked the approximate one hundred residents and guests who came to witness the long awaited re-opening of the recreation center. The new building is located where the old recreation center was located.

The outdoor ceremony began with an invocation by Dr. Harold L. Fisher Jr. of the Lily Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. Fisher is a Galena Park High School graduate.

Mayor Moya told me the new facility will carry its original name as the Evelyn J. Churchill Community Center. (See photo.) Moya said she is thankful for the patience the residents had. She said she is a religious person and proud she has a Christian administration.

She said, “I believe in prayers, and before every undertaking I make, I pray for guidance to do the right thing.”

She is on her 10th year as mayor.

The old recreation center was demolished, six years ago in about 2017, due to mold discovered throughout the facility. I personally investigated and inspected the building after it became a hot issue at the city council meetings. I agreed then with the city’s findings and the professional mold inspectors the city hired. The building was too dangerous to re-open until the mold issue was resolved. The fumes from the mold made me sick before I could complete my tour. (See May 25, 2017 article here.)

Johnetta Fisher-Goodloe in attendance (see photo) has been a long-time resident of Galena Manor since 1954 and a staff member at Fidelity Manor High School.

She said, “When I entered the new recreation center, I was excited and grateful for the new features, including a beautiful glowing artificial log fireplace that will impact the community for a lifetime.”

Eronia “Taggy” Hall, a longtime resident of Galena Manor and former school teacher, said, “A New Rec! Congratulations! Super Job! Well done by a Young Super Woman. Mayor Esmeralda Moya of Galena Park thank you for our MAGNIFICENT BEAUTIFUL NEW RECREATION CENTER IN GALENA MANOR. YOU ARE TRULY ONE OF A KIND.”

Moya began the program by reading a Bible scripture from 2nd Samuel 7:29. She then thanked Veronica Garcia the Commissioner for Parks and Recreation and expressed her appreciation to the other Galena Park Commissioners, Hilda Barrientos, Zenaida Granados and Jorge Rodriguez for the support they gave her throughout this project and future projects to benefit the entire city.

After the ribbon cutting, Moya made an announcement of a new building project for a Galena Manor Historical Museum. She then invited everyone to go inside and tour the new center. They were treated with cookies and refreshments.

Galena Manor is a subdivision of Galena Park and was established in 1951 when the city council approved the development of a shopping center and a new subdivision of 330 homes.

It was the location of an African American high school that opened in 1955 and was the only black high school in Galena Park’s School District (GPISD). Black students went there, and white students went to Galena Park High School. GPISD decided to desegregate the black and white students and have them all attend the Galena Park High School. They closed the former Fidelity Manor High School around 1969. Many of my present friends and church members who were students of the Fidelity Manor High School attended the ribbon cutting.