‘Powering healthy living’ – Groundbreaking ceremony held for Rec Center

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Austin Community Rec Center was held on Wednesday afternoon.

Several members of the community, youth and adults who will benefit from the new rec center, participated in the ceremony, each shoveling a ceremonial mound of dirt to signal the beginning of the building’s next phase.

“Today we celebrate powering healthy living,” said Vision 2020 Steering Committee co-chair Nicole Behne, who emceed the ceremony.

Vision 2020 Steering Committee co-chair Nicole Behne greets people as she kicks off a groundbreaking for offical construction of the rec center Wednesday. Behind her trucks and construction equipment continue preparing the ground.

Construction will soon begin on the building, located at Fourth Avenue and Fourth Street Northeast. Organizers anticipate an opening date at the end of 2019.

Behne said that over $36 million was raised for the new rec center, with $25 million coming from the Hormel Foundation, $5 million from Hormel Foods, and the rest from members of the community.

“We would not be here today without the people of the community making this possible,” she said.

The new Austin Community Rec Center will be a year-round facility with state-of-the-art-fitness facilities such as a family aquatic center, practice facilities and programs supporting healthy living in a safe, affordable environment.

Reese Norton, left, and Chelsey Collins, right, do cartwheels showing their support for the new rec center during a groundbreaking Wednesday.

Additionally, the Austin Community Rec Center will have areas free to the public and areas available for access through a daily or monthly fee, preschool programs and classroom for 120 students and a school age child care program for 150 children.

Behne said the new rec center is expected to employ over 175 people and will have an economic impact of $3.2 million annually.

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