Sunday, October 21, 2007

Joseph Lee Rec Center Opens

One Bayview resident was sorry to see half the mural on the west side of the recreation center painted over. "It showed real people who I remember and who aren't here anymore," he said. Even so, he was happy to be with neighbors this past weekend at the opening of the completely renovated building, share stories about the old building, and celebrate all the other changes which will better serve the neighborhood.

It felt like a community reunion in many ways. Young Quesada Gardens members, Shanika and Sabrina, were already using the facility this weekend, playing in the playground and inside around an air hockey table. Shanika has signed up for dance classes which will be held in one of the multi-purpose rooms on the upper level.

The facility's earthtone exterior seques into bright colors inside that suggest a freshness and certain friendliness the old building had forgotten how to communicate. And there was no aura of danger that in the past had hovered over the walkway between the Rec Center and the Opera House. One visitor said that, one day, he hopes the black fences that enclose the new facility will be taken down because they aren't needed any more.

From the Quesada Garden, to the changes at the Opera House, to this newly refurbished Rec Center, visible change that brings our community back to its historic vibrancy is evident. And we still have many high water marks to look forward to: renovations at the YMCA on Lane and Quesada, renovation of the branch library on Third and Revere, and the transformation of the Newcomb model block.

Above (top): Even at closing time, it was hard for many visitors to leave the Joseph Lee Recreation Center yesterday.

Quesada Gardens member, Shanika, wants us to know that she won this game of air hockey against a worthy opponent.

Quesada Gardens member, Sabrina, had to try every new piece of equipment until she came to rest on the hammock.

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