Helena finally sees opening of new community center

Hundreds streamed into the new Helena Community Center Sunday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the building, which will serve as a multipurpose location for the city.

Helena City Council member Barbara Hyche said the building would give Helena citizens chances at new recreational activities.

“It’s just a nice facility that’s going to offer opportunities for everyone,” she said. “There will be something for everyone.”

Bill Miller with the Helena Parks and Recreation Department said the building is approximately 36,000 square feet and has eight meeting rooms, two banquet rooms, a full kitchen, a walking track and a basketball court.

Miller, who will serve as the facility’s director, said he’s looking forward to the community using the building.

Council member Cris Nelson said as a family-friendly community, Helena needed such a facility. While the parks and recreation department has long offered baseball and softball, there is now the option for youth basketball and volleyball.

“This has been in the plans for a couple of years. The mayor has been working to get it done,” Nelson said. “The response has just been awesome. People have been saying how nice of a facility it is.”

As Mayor Sonny Penhale walked around, greeting his constituents, he said the facility, which cost approximately $1.5 million, would be a good long-term investment for the city.

“It’s going to mean a lot to us,” he said. “We’ve got a place for kids to play. It’s for everybody to use.”

Penhale said the city has not yet decided on hours of operation for the facility, but rooms can be reserved for meetings and seminars. The facility is located on Ruffin Road, close to the ball fields. For more information about the Helena Community Center, call Joy Childers at 663-9301.