Community center offers fun for all ages, open space | News

Underutilized Canaveral City Park is poised to offer a myriad of recreational opportunities at Cape Canaveral’s two-story community center, with an indoor track opening onto a field lined with basketball courts, volleyball courts- ball and pickleball.

Canaveral City Park had existed for 50 years with only a softball field, a Little League field and an old trailer used as a youth center. Tennis and recreation lessons were offered in a limited space at the Nancy Hanson Recreational Facility.

Cape Canaveral has a population of 10,000 in its 1.9 square miles, Recreation Services Director Gustavo Vergara said. “They always wanted a place, but could never find a location,” he said.

Everything changed with the creation of a community redevelopment agency in 2012.

“It has opened up the possibility of redevelopment in areas considered to be run down. It also created a great opportunity to leverage the loan to bring this project to fruition,” he said. “We said, instead of just building a community center, let’s plan the whole park to try to make it as holistic as possible. Basically, it’s a family park.

Public workshops and related surveys have shown the need for an open space as well as a community center serving a wide generation gap and different recreational activities.

“There were a few iterations of what it could be. We hired a design company and they took on designing a facility with all the feedback they got and it wasn’t easy,” Vergara said.

Joël Fair, a father of five, is eager to participate in indoor activities in hot and rainy weather. He is Chairman of the Advisory Council for Cultural and Recreational Services. “It allows us to be active all year round,” he said.

He also believes the facility will appeal to all socio-economic groups, including affluent and modest-income residents “to bring everyone together.”

The community center includes a game room, group fitness room, gym, and fitness area similar to Crossfit equipment. Upstairs, there will be a fully functional weight room, lounge and banquet hall. There is an expanded parking lot, open grass where the softball field was, walking paths, and a wading pool.

The $6.1 million project will include the contemporary architectural style community center and all civil works on the site. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 22, 2020. Construction began in December 2021 with completion expected this month.

Jill E. Washington