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Richland County’s senior population has another option for recreation in the northeast. The county’s recreation commission celebrated the grand opening of the North Springs Community Center on Tuesday.
“It was a bond that made this happen. Richland County is probably the most vital county in South Carolina and to do that we need great parks and great libraries,” said County Councilman Jim Manning. “When I come to a facility like this and I think of the children that are going to be on that ball field instead of doing drugs in their community, it’s worth that little bit of extra money to do that.”
The 3,400-square-foot building offers two meeting rooms and a kitchen. The building will host a number of activities for older residents like Zumba, arthritis exercise and bingo. A 300-foot baseball field behind the center has been outfitted with a press box, dugout and scoreboard. It will hold league games and competitions for baseball and softball teams.
“Most of our activity centers are geared toward senior activities,” said Kenya Bryant, assistant executive director of the Richland County Recreation Commission. “This area was in need of that.”
The center is on Clemson Road next to the recreation center in North Springs Park, which offers programs and activities for children. The new facility is targeted to seniors in surrounding neighborhoods with the intention of creating a complete family-friendly experience.
“We’re branching out to seniors to get them involved in activities and bring a family feeling to the community,” said Kandice Hunter, site manager for the North Springs Community Center.
The community center was funded by the $50 million general obligation bond passed in 2008 by Richland County Council to make improvements and to build new recreational facilities.
Oda Hunt, president of the Willow Mill-Orchard Neighborhood Association, said the center gives him another place to hold community meetings. He has lived in the northeast the past 32 years and has seen the growth of the area.
Hunt said the support of County Council, particular his representative Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon, has helped him accomplish many of the goals he has for his community.
“She is a go-getter,” he said of Dixon. “She has done more since being in office than some have since I’ve been president of the neighborhood association. I’m very proud and honored to work with her.”