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Residents of the East Delavan Avenue-Moselle Street area are about to have something they never have had before: a full-service community center.

Groundbreaking for the Delavan-Moselle Community Center is scheduled for Thursday, with construction expected to start within weeks.

The center will to be financed with a $4.1 million capital bond allocation administered by Masten District Council Member Byron W. Brown.

It will include several community meeting rooms, a computer room, a boxing and weight-training room and a basketball court, among other amenities that will be available to the community.

Construction should be finished by next fall, Brown said.

It will be built on East Delavan between Wyoming and Moselle streets, on the site where the former School 23 was demolished a year ago.

A more limited center on Moselle Street was nearly obsolete when it was built in the late 1960s, Brown added.

"If we had recreational activities going on in the gym room and children playing in the game room, that was sum and substance of it," he said. "We couldn't have a block club meeting at the same time, or a meeting of the Boys and Girls Club."

"We looked at the potential for expansion with the consultants and decided that was not a desirable option because the building is over 30 years old, and retrofitting it would be difficult," Brown said.

He noted, however, that the center will remain open until the new building is completed.

Once the operations are transferred to the new building, the old one will be demolished, and a portion of that site will provide additional off-street parking for the new center.

"This is something the block clubs have been pushing and asking the city for for eight years now, and I'm pleased that, working with the mayor, we've been able to get the project accomplished in less than four years," Brown added.

The Delavan-Grider Block Club Council has participated in a number of planning meetings with the building's architect and was involved in the final decision-making phase of the planning, Brown said.

A scale model of the new facility is on display in Hobson's One-Hour Dry Cleaning and Tailoring at 874 East Delavan.

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