Mayor Don Wesely today cut the ribbon to officially open the new "F"Street Community Center, 1225 "F" Street. The Mayor was joined by city and neighborhood officials for grand opening ceremonies, which included the unveiling of a brick mural near the main entrance, tours, demonstrations and entertainment.
"The opening of this beautiful new center is a very significant event for our entire city," said Mayor Wesely. "It is another example of what can be accomplished through partnership, patience and hard work toward a common goal. The neighborhood associations, preservation groups, churches and schools all worked with city government to make this happen. The result is a center that will improve the quality of life in our community for many generations."
The original building at the location was opened as a fire station in 1929. It was converted for use as a 4,000-square foot community center in 1965. The renovated center is 34,000 square feet and serves the Near South, Everett, South Salt Creek and Downtown neighborhoods. At its annual meeting last month, the Preservation Association of Lincoln presented the project with its "Integration of Old and New Award" for exemplary integration of new construction with a historic structure. The total cost of the project was about $5 million, including $3.5 million in construction costs.
The new facility houses indoor and outdoor basketball courts, outdoor play equipment with a soft-surfaced play area, game tables and video games, computer and television rooms and an indoor track and fitness equipment area. The center also has meeting rooms and program spaces for recreation classes and for human service agencies.
A 1995 study identified the need for a new facility along with the programming and service area. Efforts to plan for a new center intensified in 1997. Funding uncertainties were resolved in April 2000 when the Nebraska State Legislature passed a bill clarifying the use of Municipal Infrastructure Redevelopment Funds (MIRF) to pay off bonds on the project. Builders, Inc. was selected as the general contractor for the project, and construction began in late summer of 2000.
"It's been a long and sometimes difficult project, but the results are well worth the years of hard work," said Mayor Wesely. "There are many people who deserve appreciation and congratulations on this great community accomplishment." The center is open to the entire community from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays.