New Orange recreation center to open after August; city looking for employee help

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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Residents of Orange soon will enjoy a new, state-of-the-art recreation center in the heart of the city.

Initially scheduled to open this summer, pandemic-related delays and supply chain challenges compelled city leaders to postpone its opening until September.

“We expect to begin the gym floor by the end of July, which will take two weeks to install and one week to ‘cure,’” said James Lawrence, a division manager of parks and recreation.

“We also are taking applications for part-time rec center aides that can manage sign-ins, run programs, rotate courts and ensure a safe environment for all patrons.”

The $2.9 million facility seems well worth the wait to many residents, Lawrence added.

“Now that we’ve removed the construction fence, we are fielding calls daily to rent the facility for tournaments and other events,” he said.

The 18,000-square-feet facility will provide an array of activities and programs for children to seniors, including exercise classes, summer camp and basketball and volleyball courts for all to enjoy.

A longtime dream of Mayor Larry Spears, the center is funded by an $8 million bond initiative passed by voters in 2018.

Lawrence believes the facility can enhance the quality of life for many youngsters of Orange.

“We don’t really have a place for the kids to play,” he said. “We can help get them off the streets and into a safe and healthy place.”

— By Catherine Burch Graham