It’s been an often circuitous 21-year wait but Antioch is finally on the verge of unwrapping a shimmering gift to itself: the Prewett Community Center. The 35,000-square-foot complex boasts community meeting rooms, a 3,000-foot-plus gymnasium, cooking amenities, a learning and technology center, a police substation, a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater, public art, and walking trails. Completion is targeted for November, 2010 but no need to let curiosity kill the cat; the public is welcomed March 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. to a “sneak peek” of the emerging construction.
Fortuitously, the $26 million generously invested over the years by the Mello Roos residents got a booster shot from the sagging economy. The bids, $5 million under budget, allowed for added features. In addition, $2 million in private funding make possible the Gateway Centers for Learning, expanding services at the existing Antioch Library and adding a new library center at Prewett Park. Besides offering a well-selected local collection of book titles, self-service options will allow for reserving and picking up items from the county collection; a technology hub of 25 computers, a color printer and a large-screen video; learning zones for younger readers, and comfortable living rooms for reading, chatting or simply enjoying a cup of coffee or Wi-Fi usage.
The buildings, with their subtle shadings and ample glass, will blend well into the surrounding hills. They are intentionally designed for add-on as the dream still lives for another California library bond act. This is a needed first step in a long-term vision of securing an amply sized, state-of-the-art library.
Abiding thanks for this project fruition goes to the long-sacrificing Mello Roos taxpayers. Special kudos also goes to Lonnie Karste, the stalwart Project Manager and to County Head Librarian Anne Cain for her ready guidance. Applause to my fellow Gateway Committee members: Chair Gary Agopian, Cherice Gilliam, Diane-Gibson Gray, Lynn Kutsal, Linda Locke, Becky Niellson, Eric Nunnally, Terry Ramus and Karen Smith. Hearty recognition to pioneering donors Linda Locke, Dow Chemical and to Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund through the offices of County Supervisor Federal Glover.
For some time now, whenever I felt a bit down at the lip on Antioch’s forbidding challenges I got rejuvenated driving the Lone Tree corridor. Growing up a mile from Manhasset, Long Island’s “Miracle Mile,” I find that name rings true as well of the stretch between Country Hills and Hillcrest. There’s our well-appointed shopping center with the stylish Schooner’s and prominent Regal Cinema complex; a handsome, state of the art high school that could pass for a small college campus; nifty skate and water parks; a gorgeous Seventh Day Adventist hilltop church. Now comes the crowning jewel on the tiara.
Make no mistake: great cities have great libraries. They become our civic touchstones, melding a community’s literacy, arts, technology and social dynamic. Antioch is now within grasp of a vibrant diversity plaza and signature cultural landmark. Mark your calendars, save the date, then, for March 13 at 4703 Lone Tree Way. RSVP by March 4 by calling 925-779-7023 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the project by visiting www.antiochgatewaycenters.org.
Difficult times like these give even greater import to the need to accentuate the positive. Antioch, let’s rightfully celebrate the rising of our stunning new town square.
Walter Ruehlig, Antioch