According to studies conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association, recreation programs provide places for health and well-being that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities and recreation opportunities have been strongly linked to reductions in crime and juvenile delinquency and prove to be a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. The city of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department will open the doors to their 17th community center in the city of Chattanooga, just in time for the official start to summer.
The doors will open to the public in a celebration held Thursday at 5 p.m., at 5400 School Dr., site of the former Hixson Middle School. The public will be greeted with activities, games, program information for all ages and more.
“This is one more step in completing our commitment to all communities in Chattanooga” said Eric Jelinski, assistant director of recreation. “Residents in the Hixson community will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of programs for all ages and the reconstruction of an old middle school into a quality community center for all ages and abilities.”
Chattanooga Parks and Recreation has been in the process of turning the old Hixson Middle school into a community center for several months including demolition of a major section of the old school and removal of existing paved areas for a new green space. Staff from the Recreation Department and Hixson Community Center, have also gathered input from citizens of all ages, concerning programs and activities desired.
The nearly 25,000 square foot Hixson Community Center, will feature a conversion of several classrooms into an art studio, game room, multimedia room, senior activities room, multi-purpose room and the largest gym within the recreation facilities.
District 3 Councilwoman Pam Ladd, Parks and Recreation Administrator Larry Zehnder and Recreation Director Greta Hayes will address the public before officially opening the doors to one of the largest community centers in the city of Chattanooga. The public is invited to take tours of the community center, learn about programs, activities, and facility reservations and offer input for future program ideas.
In addition to the opening activities, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament will be held earlier in the afternoon and local artist Jerry Allen will feature an art exhibit for the public. Registration for the free 3 on 3 basketball tournament will take place at 2 p.m. on site or by calling 280-7277.
Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, the Hixson Community Center will be open till 9 p.m., serving as a teen center, full of activities and programs, targeting teens in the Hixson community. Teen programs will be conducted by the Prevention and Youth Development Department ranging from grilling and fitness to education and media production.