As part of the new Antioch Community Center, adjacent to Prewett Family Water Park on Lone Tree Way, Anthony has a shiny, high-tech gym at his disposal. Everything is controlled electronically, Anthony said, including the small bleachers around the gym, the six basketball backboards and the two scoreboards.
Right now, Anthony works out of the downtown Nick Rodriguez Community Center, but will move into his new digs on Jan. 3, when the building officially opens to the public. The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last weekend, giving Antioch residents some good news amid dreary budget problems. A couple hundred people attended to get a sneak peak at the long-awaited center.
“It’s absolutely a wonderful facility built for the community of Antioch,” said Anthony, also a lifelong resident of the city. “I finally have a gymnasium that the city owns and I can program sports activities for the youth and adults here, 24/7 if I can.”
The 38,000-square-foot facility’s price tag of $26 million was paid for by Mello Roos special property taxes. But as Antioch faces a budget shortfall of roughly $4 million, the question of how long can the city can operate the facility is a tough one.
City officials said the center has already brought in some revenue, as residents have begun reserving rooms for parties, meetings and other uses. Anthony said at an earlier City Council meeting that the gym could be reserved for youth tournaments or other athletic contests.
“Projects like this bring pride and value to our city and increase the ability to attract business and commercial development,” Mayor Jim Davis said at the ceremony. “This building will do that.”
The community center, a WiFi hotspot, has something for any age and use, including two preschool classrooms, already stocked with Dr. Seuss and other children’s books, which can seat 30 kids each. The center will host classes for teens and adults, too, in art, dance, martial arts, cooking, CPR and more.
The 2,500-square-foot San Joaquin Community Hall can seat 300 in a dining setting or 720 for an assembly, and features a full kitchen, a projector screen and a patio area.
There are also two multi-purpose “smart” classrooms that can seat 40. The gymnasium can seat 520 or hold 1,545 for an assembly. The basketball/volleyball court, displaying the City of Antioch logo in the center, can be divided in half, so two games can be played at once.
A police substation is also built into the new facility, housing a lobby, a customer service reception area, staff work areas, a conference room and offices for PAL and REACH officers.
A library annex featuring books, computers, learning zones for kids and comfortable reading areas will open a couple weeks after the rest of the center. Outside the center is an outdoor amphitheater, a walking trail and a burrowing owl habitat.
In the words of project manager Lonnie Karste, “We hope that this new gathering place will be a beginning today where people can come together and celebrate community.”