By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County leaders celebrated the recent opening of two recreational facilities that are promising to benefit both young and old living in Riverview and Ruskin.
The first of the two centers officially opened following a late October ribbon cutting is the newly renovated Gardenville Schoolhouse that sits adjacent to a brand new gymnasium, a recent addition to the Gardenville Recreation Center at 6215 Symmes Rd. in Gibsonton.
The $830,000 renovation was funded by a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant and administered by the County’s Affordable Housing Services department.
According to officials, the County’s Aging Services, which has transitioned programs from the Gibsonton Senior Center, and the County Parks and Recreation departments will now both offer programming at the schoolhouse.
The newly renovated building will serve as a gathering place, offer meal services to eligible seniors, and health and wellness activities, while Parks and Recreation will offer arts and cultural programming for young people, adults and seniors.
“This will be a vibrant facility for our senior residents,” Commissioner Sandra Murman said.
The schoolhouse originally opened sometime before 1926, and over the years morphed into the building that became a recreation center as well as a landmark for the community.
As part of an expansion project, County officials also celebrated the opening of a brand new gymnasium at the Ruskin Recreation Center at 901 6th St. SE in Ruskin.
The event included a ribbon cutting and gave local leaders, such as Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White (District 4) a chance to be first to shoot some hoops inside the new 7,000-sq.-ft. gym, which will offer additional programming for teens, adults and seniors in the Ruskin area.
According to Assistant County Administrator Dexter Barge, the $1.7 million facility is a great asset to the Ruskin community.
“Recreational centers and our parks are the focal points of most communities,” Barge said. “Our commissioners in Hillsborough County have recognized that and have made a tremendous investment in our communities by adding and expanding such facilities. This is just another great example.”