Decatur holds first game in newly renovated gym

Mayor Baskett does the tip-off to start the game.

What was once a small gym known as the “match box” is now a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose gymnasium.

Decatur held its first youth basketball game at the newly renovated Ebster Recreation Center Feb. 11. The recreation center is a part of the redeveloped Beacon School complex at 420 W. Trinity Place. The complex also houses the Decatur Police Department and Municipal Court, and headquarters of City Schools of Decatur.

The complex also features office space for Decatur Active Living, dance and choral performance spaces and artists’ studios. The complex is expected to be completed this year.

The basketball game featured the Decatur Recreation girls’ basketball team. Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett took the first shot in the gym and honorary captains were Decatur Commissioner Kecia Cunningham and former Mayor Elizabeth Wilson.

Decatur Active Living Director Greg White said the city is excited about the renovated gym.

“This is a historical place for the community,” White said. “At one point everyone came and met [here]. It was a connecting place, a social place and a recreation place.”

The gym is named after Deacon Ebster, who was a fixture in the community. White said Ebster was all about service, connecting people and helping children. Much of the existing gym, library and school building are is “living museum” honoring alumni of the Herring Street, Trinity High and Beacon schools.

Before the renovation, White said the gym was in terrible condition.

Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett greets players before the first youth game in the renovated Ebster Recreation Center.

Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett greets players before the first youth game in the renovated Ebster Recreation Center.

“There was no air conditioning, limited lighting, limited seating was in here,” he said. “Now we can play basketball in here, volleyball, and that’s the piece I really like—is the multi-purpose space.”

The gym will also take “some pressure” off of Decatur Recreation, according to White.

“Decatur Rec has been a lifeline for a lot [of people], but now this is another great place for people to come and connect,” he said. “With it next to the Decatur Housing Authority, we see it as a tool to also help the individuals in the community, to help them be healthy and active. It’s in walking distance, and people can walk over here. I see it being an anchor to this community in the next 50 to 100 years.”

City Manager Peggy Merriss said, “Having this facility will allow us to do a lot more for the whole community,” she said. “It is a huge asset.”

 

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  1. Michael Morris. Sr says:

    Looks great. Good job Decatur.

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