A groundbreaking ceremony for the Stephen G. Terrell Recreation Center was hosted Saturday morning at the 149,000-square-foot facility’s future site in the 1600 block of West Exchange Parkway, south of Ridgeview Drive.
Members of Allen City Council, including Mayor Ken Fulk, were in attendance and participated in the ceremonial digging along with the namesake of the recreation center, former Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell. Terrell attended the ceremony with his family and joined a slate of speakers including Fulk, City Manager Eric Ellwanger, Community Development Corporation President Tommy Baril and Allen Sports Association President Jared Shelton.
Executives of Adolfson and Peterson Construction, the company overseeing the project, were also in attendance.
“[We] collaborated closely with the city of Allen throughout the preconstruction and estimating process to make the most out of taxpayer dollars while also ensuring the project is built in a safe, timely manner,” Adolfson and Peterson said in a statement following the ceremony. “We are very excited to see this project come to fruition.”
The groundbreaking comes almost two months after Allen City Council voted 5-1 in favor of authorizing the $40.4 million construction. The ordinance proved controversial during the June 8 meeting as public speakers criticized the project as being an unnecessary burden on taxpayers. Residents who spoke in opposition of the recreation center made various suggestions, such as delegating its desired services to the private sector or waiting until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to revisit the proposal.
The latter suggestion was supported by Councilman Daren Meis, who offered an additional suggestion that city officials evaluate the efficacy of a private sector voucher program. Meis was the only council member to vote against the project.
The Stephen G. Terrell Recreation Center is projected to open in summer 2023. Amenities offered by the facility will include two gymnasiums, a basketball court, an indoor playground, fitness equipment, designated areas for group fitness classes and play spaces for young children.