Adult rec center officially welcomed

Glendale officials joined about 200 seniors at the grand-opening ceremony for the city's new Adult Recreation Center.

After the ceremony, the crowd grew for the free lunch in the courtyard.

Saturday marked the official grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony after the new center opened its doors in early July. The construction contract for the facility was approved last year, nearly 17 years after the project received $700,000 in seed money from Los Angeles County.

"I'm glad that this has finally come together, and the use has already exceeded expectations," Mayor Ara Najarian said.

More than 400 seniors have filed in each day since the opening to check out the new facility, officials said.

"Since the first day it opened, we keep seeing more people, Community Services & Parks Director George Chapjian said. "All the seniors seem to be telling their friends and family. I just hope we don't outgrow ourselves now."

The new 18,400-square-foot facility is almost 50% larger than the original facility. The old center, which was demolished to make room for 1.75 acres of green space, was built almost 70 years ago and had been remodeled only once.

Seniors now have rooms for exercise, billiards and other games, a dining area with a kitchen, multiple activity rooms, a multipurpose room for exercise classes and bingo.

Hagop Kassabian, the park development project manager, has been involved with the project since 2005 and interacted with the seniors nearly every day during the construction phase.

"This is really a fulfilling moment," he said after the ribbon was cut. "The project has always been about them, and now we can share the fruits of the labor."

Julia Amezcua, 70, was at the opening ceremony, and the 40-year resident of Glendale loves the new recreation center.

"Everyone is friendly, and we've got everything we need here," she said with a plate full of tacos in her hand. "We feel so important. It gives us something to look forward to."

The adjacent green space is expected to be completed in six to eight weeks, officials said.

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