'Long overdue': city breaks ground on new community centre in East Lions Park
$21-million dollar facility with a new swimming pool is set to open in early 2019
City officials held a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for the East Community Centre, to be built at the current site of the swimming pool in East Lions Park in the city's Wavell Street and Clarke Road area.
The 42,000 square foot facility will include indoor leisure and lap pools, a gym, community kitchen and a multi-purpose activity space and is set to open in early 2019.
It's been a long time coming for Sharon Nash.
"It's a dead park and I was hoping for something this to come along," she said. "I can't wait for it to get here."
Nash, who is 72, has lived in London's Argyle neighbourhood for the last 70 years. She's always considered the park an important part of her life.
She came to Wednesday's announcement with a black and white photograph of herself that was taken in 1947, when she was two-years-old, by a photographer from a local newspaper.
"I used to play the track and field and I won the high jump championship here," she said, noting the park has needed a community centre for a long time.
"It's long overdue," she said.
'15 years in the making'
"This has been 15 years in the making," said Shawn Lewis, the president of the Argyle Community Association. "I'm feeling really upbeat and really excited."
"There's a little piece of me that is disappointed that it took 15 years," he said. "But at the end of the day we got the shovels in the ground and that is what really matters."
The $21-million dollar facility is set to open in early 2019.