June 2, 2021 - Fox Hill area residents will again have a neighborhood center when the new center officially opens Saturday, June 5. Located in the former Cornerstone Church at 65 Hall Road, the center will open for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. and stay open for tours and visits until noon.
In reality, only half of the center is opening. After city officials and the neighborhood group cut the ribbon on the renovated main building, they will officially break ground on part two of the center: A gymnasium.
Fox Hill groups created their first neighborhood center in a building at Grundland Park. It was used from the mid-1970s until it was destroyed by a tornado in 2014. That center served as a site for youth sports registrations and banquets, various meetings, senior citizens gatherings, weddings, funerals, family reunions and spaghetti suppers and fish fries, often fund-raisers for local organizations.
A community engagement process, including public meetings, was used to select a new site. Finding the site took longer than expected because of the prevalence of wetlands in the Fox Hill area. Residents preferred the former church, and the selection of an existing building allowed the center to open — at least in part — faster than new construction would have allowed.
Rooms in the new Fox Hill Neighborhood Center will be available for rent for organizations and individuals who want to hold events there. People who volunteer at the center will receive credits they can use toward the cost of rentals. For more information, go to https://foxhillneighborhoodcenter.com The site also has an events calendar.
Other city neighborhood centers are Y.H. Thomas and Little England. These centers are generally more neighborhood-focused, with a board of directors formed from local volunteers. The board and volunteers organize and plan many of the programs and events at the center. That’s different from the four larger community centers, which draw attendees from a wider area and have more city-sponsored events, classes, and workout centers.
City Council allocated about $3.5 million for replacing each of two neighborhood centers, Fox Hill and Olde Hampton. Olde Hampton’s neighborhood center, which replaces an older one that was torn down, is under construction. It is named the Mary W. Jackson Neighborhood Center to honor NASA’s first black female engineer, who lived in and volunteered for the Olde Hampton neighborhood.