Monday, June 8, 2009

A 'good day' for Hartwell as new rec center opens

Following nine months of construction, the new Hartwell Recreation Center was dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

"It's a good day for us," said Dawn Longworth, president of the Hartwell Improvement Association. "And we celebrate all that this new center has to offer for our community and everyone that lives here."

"We all appreciate the fact that Hartwell is the northern gate of the City of Cincinnati, and it's an impressive gate with its beautiful Victorian homes and tree-lined streets," said Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Crowley. "This beautiful recreation center in this neighborhood directly contributes to our quality of life in this community."

The $1.1 million center adds square footage to the original 1981 building, originally built by Kroger as part of a land swap deal that resulted in a brand new grocery for the neighborhood.

The expanded center includes offices and conference rooms, an art room, an exercise room, and kitchen facilities, providing plenty of space for all of the community's programs.

None of this would have been possible in the old one-room facility, Longworth said.

"We have a beautiful new center that can host many classes and events at the same time, without interruption," she said. "In addition, summer camp children will no longer be cramped into one small space. The Hartwell Valley Seniors will have a new meeting room, and our strong community groups, such as the Hartwell Improvement Association, the Hartwell Athletic Association, and the Hartwell Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will have a space not only to hold their meetings, but also to invite others."

A few finishing touches remain to be installed – exercise equipment, a new kiln, kitchen appliances, a full-court and two half-court basketball courts, additional fencing by the pool, and new signage.

Much is happening in Hartwell these days – groundbreaking for the renovation of Hartwell School was held two weeks ago, and redevelopment of the Hartwell Armory site is pending.

"I'm very proud of what's going on in Hartwell," Longworth said. "This new center brings us one step closer to achieving all the visions we have to make Hartwell one of the finest neighborhoods in the City of Cincinnati."