Wilmington shows off renovated 'Hicks' Anderson Center
Wilmington officials believe a refurbished William “Hicks” Anderson Center is more welcoming to residents of the neighborhood and the city.
"It's been very exciting. Like I said some of these people grew up in this neighborhood have been here since '72 and when they walk in this building it just basically blows them away," said Wilmington’s Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Wayne Jefferson, assessing the initial reaction to the renovations.
City Director of Parks and Recreation Kevin Kelley details some of the changes made to the center.
"We have a new roof, new air conditioning system, new locker room, new pool, new heating system that we've upgraded a we've did all the outside and inside of the building," said Kelley. "So, it's a complete renovation of almost $4 million worth of investment."
Kelley adds the center also put in a new gym floor, dance studio and accessible ramp and entryway.
The upgraded kitchen is now commercial grade - and walls in some rooms were knocked down to create more space for the computer lab and arts room.
He says the project delivered a community gem.
"Nobody has a pool, boxing ring, computer lab, a brand new gym dance studio, a senior center, a teen lounge in a beautiful brand new building in an outstanding neighborhood," said Kelley.
Mayor Mike Purzycki says the goal now is to draw the city youth to the center.
"It's a very welcoming place. So we're going to encourage kids to come here. We're also going to program this very, very aggressively, so we have kids coming here because there are things that they want to do, things that make their lives better," Purzycki said.
The center hosts a grand re-opening party Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. It will feature the Wilmington Blue Coats basketball team, a band, giveaways, dancers, food and building tours.