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Fair Street gets new neighborhood center
David Howington, a corrections officer, lays pine straw Thursday to prepare for Sunday’s dedication ceremony of the Fair Street Neighborhood Center. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan
On Sunday, Gainesville Parks and Recreation will celebrate the opening of its Fair Street Neighborhood Center, which offers just another site in Gainesville where residents can let the good times roll.

"We’ve had the Georgia Mountains Center and the Gainesville Civic Center, and now we have the Fair Street Neighborhood Center," said Brenda Martin, manager of the Gainesville Civic Center.

The community center will be available for public rental at roughly $50 per hour beginning Monday. It features an 1,800-square-foot room, a 10-seat conference room and a catering kitchen. A circular walkway with benches flanks the center, and will soon be completed with garden-style landscaping.

"We needed a neighborhood center in that area where folks could meet," Martin said. "It’s a place for people in the community to meet for family reunions, baby showers, wedding receptions, seminars or business meetings."

Martin said a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the neighborhood center at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tours of the facility and refreshments will be offered.

The Fair Street Neighborhood Center is located at 715 Fair St., the former site of the Fair Street pool. The community pool was closed in September 2006, and was demolished in early 2007. Construction on the community center began in August 2007 and was completed earlier this month.

The $925,000 project was funded in part by a federal Community Development Block grant through the department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant appropriated $786,000 to Gainesville Parks and Recreation for the community improvement project and the city supplemented the grant funds.

Graham said the Gainesville community expressed a desire for additional meeting places and improved aquatic facilities during the city’s Vision 2014 master planning survey conducted in 2003 and 2004. Graham said construction of the Fair Street Neighborhood Center is meant to fulfill to residents’ meeting center requests, while the Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center under construction on Jesse Jewell Parkway will serve the aquatic needs of the community.

Graham said the Frances Meadows center is slated to open this summer, and will feature two indoor and two outdoor pools with slides and play structures.

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