The City of Arlington celebrated the start of construction Friday for the new East Arlington Recreation Center and Library at Bob Cooke Park.
This collaborative project between the Parks and Recreation and Libraries departments is the first of its kind in The American Dream City. The co-facility, located at 2025 Craig Hanking Drive off New York Avenue, will replace the existing Hugh Smith Recreation Center and the East Branch Library. Both of those locations will remain open during the construction process.
The 47,249-square-foot facility is set to open in Fall 2020. Funding for the $26 million project was approved by Arlington voters in the 2014 Bond Election.
The community wants to see one city and they want to be provided really good services from the city. So we've been collaborating over the last couple of years to determine how we are going to program effectively for the entire community, providing state-of-the-art library and parks and recreation services," said Lemuel Randolph, Parks and Recreation Director. "We really feel like we are going to deliver on this account with this project."
To create a single building with two distinct functions, architects were inspired by the architecture and automotive designs from the 1950s and today. The intertwining of curved and angular elements, joined by a shared lobby, creates a state-of-the art facility that honors Arlington's history while providing a modern space for present and future generations.
The open concept library is expected to be a community hub for shared resources such as books, children's toys and public computers for residents of East Arlington. The library will provide literacy tools to support students, families, and lifelong learners. Free programs include bilingual early literacy storytimes; GED, ESL and other adult education classes; and events for seniors. The recreation elements of the center include a gymnasium, indoor pool with party room, fitness center, locker rooms, group exercise room, community meeting rooms, and outdoor amenities.
"We are hoping to not only promote healthy minds through the library but also healthy bodies through the parks," said Norma Zuniga, Acting Director of the Libraries.
Residents are encouraged to visit the City's bond tracker website for construction timelines and capital project updates.