PULLMAN — After years of anticipation, a ceremonial ribbon will be cut Thursday morning on the Pullman Community Center, a $20 million sports and community center on the city’s Far South Side.
The center at 10355 S. Woodlawn Ave. will offer three indoor synthetic turf fields, three indoor hardwood basketball courts, common space for community gatherings, educational and community programs for community residents of all ages. The center will create more than 20 full-time jobs, according to a press release.
The 135,000 square-foot facility state-of-the art facility is only slightly smaller than the 160,00 square-foot Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at 1250 W. 119th St., which opened in May 2012.
It was built on 12 vacant acres.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) and Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly joining community residents, city officials and corporate leaders.
More than 150 students from Poe Elementary, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, Corliss High School and Carver Military Academy are scheduled to play music and check out the new playing fields starting at 9:30 a.m.
The Pullman Community Center is co-owned by the Roseland Youth Center and the Chicago Park District, which will provide programming at the center. Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives developed the site where the center is located.
Beale, in partnership with the Roseland Youth Center, had the vision for the Pullman Community Center, which originated from a community planning process that involved block clubs and neighborhood organizations.
“This is a game-changer all day long because of what it will do for the development of kids in the area,” Beale told DNAinfo in 2015. “It’s going to be a place that cultivates more smart, professional-caliber athletes who don’t get access to sports training for outdoor sports for five or six months a year.”
Beale and developer David Doig, head of the not-for-profit Chicago Neighborhood Initiative, spearheaded the Pullman Park development that has brought Wal-Mart, Planet Fitness, Ross and eco-friendly soap maker, Method, to the former Ryerson Steel property in Pullman.
“We heard from the community that in addition to the need for retail and jobs, that there was a need for indoor recreational space. A place to practice sports when it’s 40 below, or have a family birthday party or run a soccer league in the winter,” Doig said in 2015.