|Updated: 8/20/2012 5:57 pm
||Published: 8/20/2012 4:27 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Little Rock city leaders broke ground on a new community center near 12th Street Monday -- three years after that location's last community center burned down.
"It was just devastating. We were devastated," said Eleanor Coleman, recalling the fire the destroyed the Adult Leisure Center in October of 2009. "We were just devastated to look over here and see what was not here," she said.
Three years later though, there's reason for excitement. City leaders broke ground Monday on what will be known as The Centre at University Park. It's basically a replacement for the Adult Care Center but bigger and better. It will be about 15,000 square feet with a larger ball room, meeting rooms, a webinar room, and it will have an arts and crafts room.
"Whenever you don't have a bond in communities, people just come home, go to work, get up the next day and go about their business, and they don't know the neighbors," explained City Director Doris White. "When you have a facility like this, people become intertwined."
White calls the process leading up to the ground breaking "an ordeal," and that's why now, she's full of emotion.
"Relieved, overjoyed, and I feel like our ward has one of its staples back," she said.
Coleman and other community members couldn't agree more.
"We just feel that this is a part of our community," said Coleman, "and we just didn't want to lose that part of our community."
The new community center will cost around $3 million and will be funded by insurance proceeds and proceeds from the recently passed sale tax measure. Construction on the new community center will officially start in about a week. From there, it'll take about eight months to complete the building.