The Abbotts Creek Community Center opened Wednesday, marking another completed step in a larger plan for the Durant Road area of North Raleigh.
Raleigh leaders hosted a ceremony to celebrate the new $11.4 million facility next to Abbotts Creek Elementary School, which opened at the start of the school year.
The 26,000-square-foot center will focus on health and wellness for residents of all ages, said Diane Sauer, Raleigh’s director of parks and recreation. It includes a fitness room, a gymnasium, a large multipurpose room and an outdoor playground.
Money left over from the project will be used to create temporary mutipurpose fields, and the property will connect to the city’s greenway system.
“This is a beautiful space ... and I’m happy to see it,” said Amy Simes, vice-chairwoman of the resident-led parks and recreation advisory committee.
The Abbotts Creek school and community center sit just east of the North Wake Landfill District Park, which served as a trash heap until the county closed the landfill in 1998.
Residents of nearby neighborhoods approached the county in the early 2000s about creating a plan for the area known to many as “Trash Mountain.”
County, city and school leaders were involved in the process, which was heavily guided by residents, said Tim Maloney, Wake County’s planning director.
The final plan, completed in 2006, called for trails, sports fields and educational centers on the 260-acre area. The North Wake Landfill District Park, which provides recreational space, opened in 2010.
A partnership between Wake County and Raleigh led to the creation of the elementary school and community center.
In the past, Wake County has partnered with city government to share the cost of land. Brier Creek Elementary in northwest Raleigh and Barwell Road Elementary in Southeast Raleigh are both next to community centers.
Wake students can use the facilities for after-school programs and other activities, said Stephen Bentley, superintendent of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
In the Durant Road area near the Bedford and Falls River neighborhoods, Wake schools needed to serve a growing population, and the city wanted to provide more resources through a community center. Indoor space was especially needed.
“Every community needs a place people can come and gather and meet,” said David Cox, who was elected in October to represent the area on the Raleigh City Council.
Cox, who lives in Bedford, used to host community meetings in his home to discuss development proposals that would affect the neighborhood.
The remainder of the master plan, including trails and an education center, will be funded as money becomes available, Bentley said. The community center was funded through a 2007 voter-approved bond that set aside $9 million for the project.