SOLEDAD, Calif. (KION) The City of Soledad held a grand reopening for its newly renovated community center on Saturday.
After a year and half of the beginning of the pandemic, the mayor of Soledad calls the opening of the new and improved community center a day of celebration.
"Today is a moment of celebration of us as our state reopens its doors to activities. I think it's really important that we really reflect on the last 15 months that have been really difficult. We've lost many family members, we've lost loved ones due to COVID-19," said Anna Velazquez, Mayor of Soledad.
The Soledad Community Center has some new features including a brand new fitness center, new equipment for the kitchen, new exterior and interior paint, a new sign, and new programming and resources. In total, the recreation manager of the center says it took about 15 weeks to complete the renovation. One community member who grew up in the area feels the integration of new programming and resources is essential.
"Growing up we didn't have a lot of resources. I'm seeing more involvement in the community. I see a lot of our youth coming out here like right now, the kids are playing basketball and I see different ages which is great. I don't remember that when growing up," said Wendy Ibarra, a Soledad resident.
Despite all the financial hardships that COVID-19 brought, the renovations were made possible through voters who approved Measure S, allowing for a .5% increase in sales tax for funding youth recreational programs.
"We always contracted those recreation services so, for the first time ever, the city now is going to be providing recreation service directly to our residents," said Velazquez.
In June, the community center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.