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Community center opening pushed back to August

The Northdale Community Center, now set to open Aug. 1, still needs work on the inside and landscaping on the outside.

By LOGAN D. MABE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 11, 2000


NORTHDALE -- The county has been working since last fall on the Northdale Community Center, and the building is almost ready to open for business.

It was originally scheduled to open in July, but Parks and Recreation department officials say their time line was moved back a few weeks to Aug. 1.

"There's still some work to be done on the inside, and there's more (landscaping) work on the outside," said Joel Jackson, manager of the planning and construction section.

When completed, the 7,000-square-foot center will feature a picnic shelter, playground, sports field, basketball courts and a roller hockey rink.

Inside will be a 2,000-square-foot multipurpose room, computer lab, arts and crafts room, office, kitchen and storage space.

The center will be a true community resource, open to adult groups and children's activities, said section manager Lois Kessler.

"The community will be able to have meetings at this facility," said Ms. Kessler. "A lot of non-profit groups have been calling us up. Plus we'll have an after-school program. And we'll do community events, too."

A director for the after-school program has been hired and will be getting the program ready to start in the fall. Between 125 and 150 children will be able to attend.

The county will also be forming focus groups with area residents to find out what uses they want to see for the building, Ms. Kessler said. The center became a reality last year when county officials came up with $2.1-million in funding for the project. That was after residents fought a proposal to build apartments on the land.

The Northdale Civic Association, which lobbied hard for the center, plans to use it for a variety of neighborhood events.

-- Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 226-3464 or mabe@sptimes.com.

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