By Omar Guzman |Staff Writer|
According to the Press-Enterprise, The 4,200-square-foot Verdemont Community Center is expected to open in late June at Al Guhin Park on the corner of Little League Dr. past Palm Ave.
It will have a 600-square-foot library, after-school tutoring, mommy and me activities, breakfast for seniors, movies for teens, exercise, arts and crafts classes and dances, as well as a basketball court and a baseball field.
“We have been without a community center for over 40 years at the north end of San Bernardino and it has been one of my top priorities since I first campaigned in 2003,” said 5th Ward Councilman Chas A. Kelley.
An outline of an amphitheater has also been cut into the grass, which is planned to show movies with hopes that the CSUSB arts programs will use it.
The implementation of a library will educationally benefit the Verdemont area, especially because the nearest library from there is the John M. Pfau Library in CSUSB, which is around three miles away.
Kelley had lobbied in Washington D.C. three times since he set his goal and successfully acquired help from Congressmen Jerry Lewis and Joe Baca to get San Bernardino a $500,000 grant towards the community center project.
Another $350,000 came from Verdemont’s city infrastructure fee tax collection, which is generally used to build homes, for a total of $850,000 for the project.
The city’s original plans were to have a 15,000-square-foot building, but it was reduced to 4,200-square-foot plan to fit budget limits.
According to Kelley the city will mainly depend on volunteers to fund and run the center, which includes duties such as teaching, tutoring and organizing and carrying out events.
“We are very excited to have this finally happening. I believe it will be a tremendously successful project and we’re looking forward to strong volunteer support and a lasting impact on our public education. You can’t put a price on that,” said Kelley.