Silver Chips Online

New Takoma Park community center opens

Residents gather to celebrate

By Meaghan Mallari, Online Managing Editor
December 12, 2005
Hundreds of Takoma Park residents filed into the atrium of the new Takoma Park Community Center on Maple Ave. to celebrate its grand opening yesterday. The event, which began at 2:00 p.m., marked the first open house of newly built portions of the center since construction began two to three years ago.

The ceremony began with music by "Rhythm Workers," followed by a welcome and introduction by Chris Barclay, the master of ceremonies. Mayor Kathy Porter thanked federal, state and county officials for their support and assistance.

Don Berger, the Takoma Park poet laureate, read a poem entitled "City Forever," which he dedicated to the new building.

Following the reading of the poem, Porter announced the cutting of the ribbons. Scissors were distributed at the beginning of the ceremony and green and white ribbons were wrapped around the entire atrium. Everyone present participated in cutting the ribbons.

Takoma Park residents of all ages attended the ceremony and each was equally excited to finally be inside the new, larger building. "Before we couldn't really do stuff; [now] there's more room for classes and stuff like that it's more community based," said Hannah Raskin, 13.

Ally Zevin, a Takoma Park resident, was also excited about the many new classes that will be held at the community center. Such classes include knitting classes, music classes and art classes for all ages.

People attending the open house were informed of these new programs. "I'm happy that people are finally realizing how they might use the building. It's a reality now," said Debra Haiduven, Director of the Recreation Department of Takoma Park.

After the cutting of the ribbons, performances by the Danny Epps Swing Jazz Band, the Suto Dancers, the Takoma Park Community Band Quartet and the Takoma Park Middle School Step Team entertained attendees. Boy Scout Troop 33 assisted in distributing refreshments during the event.

Although the first stage of the community center is completed, there are still two more stages of construction, according to Porter. The second phase of the building will connect the front part of the center with a computer learning area and the library. The third part is a gymnasium. Funding for the gym will come from the Washington Adventist Hospital, which has already pledged $750,000, and from the county and state legislatures.

The state and county, as well as community members funded the first part of the construction. "It's just been a community wide effort," Porter said.

Although there is still work to be done, the opening of the building was a day for celebration. The new building provides for more recreation opportunities and space for community organizations and artists. "The most important is that we hope this community center is a place where everybody can work and learn and play together," Porter said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/5981