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Oct 27

Rec center renovation in Texarkana nearly completed – Arkansas Online

TEXARKANA -- The transformation of a derelict former Boys and Girls Club into a modern, multipurpose recreation center is only weeks from completion.

The Texarkana Recreation Center on Legion Drive lacks only installation of a gymnasium floor, kitchen equipment and electronics such as televisions and computers before residents can begin using it, said city Parks Department's Adam Dalby during a recent tour.

The result will be a hub of community activity not only for children who need a place to play, but also for anyone who needs computer and internet access, a meeting, event or classroom space, or an opportunity to volunteer.

The city is taking bids for industrial kitchen equipment for the center and should award a contract within two to three weeks. Installation of a gymnasium floor, made of compressed plastic like those in many elementary schools, should begin in the meantime. The kitchen and gym are connected by a concession stand.

An activity room will feature pool and foosball tables, TVs and a seating area. A computer lab with free Wi-Fi access will be available to everyone.

A meeting room will have plenty of seating and electronics that users may need such as telephones and largescreen TVs for videos and presentations.

Restrooms have been completely renovated, and on Wednesday workers were busy polishing all-new flooring throughout the building.

It is suitable for everything from exercise classes, to sports and summer camps, to family reunions and more, and early plans include a Breakfast with Santa event in December, Dalby said.

The center will also house the Parks Department's offices, and Dalby has plans to install a Hall of Fame featuring autographed photos of athletes who were involved in the old Boys and Girls Club and went on to success.

Outside, spruced up ball fields will accommodate baseball, softball, soccer and football games. A walking trail will provide another place for residents to get some exercise.

The Parks Department will be hiring some part time staff for the center, and organizations and volunteers are needed to facilitate afterschool and other programs. Eventually, school buses will stop at the center to drop off students who need a place to go after the last bell rings.

The price tag of more than $1.18 million was paid for through a low-cost loan secured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as federal Community Development Block Grants and Parks allocations.

A safe, healthy place where the city's youth can congregate has continuously been on the wish list of many residents, Dalby said.

"Now we've got that place," he said, "and hopefully we can keep it open a long time."

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Rec center renovation in Texarkana nearly completed - Arkansas Online

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