WALKER - As he walked from room to room giving a guided tour, Mayor Jimmy Watson had a smile on his face.
Every room had a reason, every implement an explanation, and the mayor went through all of their purposes with passion.
Nearly one year after the City of Walker purchased four acres off Florida Boulevard, on the eastern side of town, they cut a ribbon on its opening at a special needs facility, as well as part of the park system for elderly classes, project groups, and anything else of which the park system could think.
"I want to thank everyone that helped us on this journey," Watson said to a large group near the back of the house. "This is going to be of great use to our community."
Currently, special needs students at Walker schools must travel to Denham Springs High School to use their 'life skills' facilities.
Things we take for granted, Watson explained, they have to learn.
Watson showed guests to a kitchen, where special needs users will learn how to cook simple meals and microwave food. Behind there, a laundry room to learn how to wash and fold clothes.
Some students are in more need than others - there's also a bedroom setup, so they can learn how to use chests of drawers and closets, as well as how to make a bed.
Near the back of the old home site, a large room contains tables and chairs for larger gatherings.
"Senior citizens can come together and do anything - from a game night, to sewing courses, anything they can think of through this space," Watson said, "they just have to register it with Parks & Recreation."
The city came into the property on a "good deal" according to Chief of Staff Jamie Etheridge. Four acres, on Florida Boulevard, for $200,000 - which they will pay off at $10,000 per year for 10 years.
The necessary renovations came in under budget, at $33,000, from a state-level outlay courtesy of Representative Sherman Mack.
Walker also has plans for the land itself, creating a nature trail through much of the wooded area behind the home for school students to learn. The city also plans to add a pavilion, which can be rented for gathering and parties.