By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Daytona Beach is set to open the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center.
A grand opening ceremony will start at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 8. The state of the art building is at 1000 Vine Street and sits in the back of Derbyshire Park.
"This is great for the entire city, especially the west side of town. We haven't had a community center here with indoor activities for our children in a long time," City Commissioner Patrick Henry said.
The ceremony will consist of a ribbon-cutting, a presentation, tours and demonstrations by vendors who will provide services there, which include zumba and photography.
"It's been a long time coming. We have waited patiently. We are very excited. This is center is truly unique to Daytona Beach. It is truly an educational and cultural center for all of our residents to enjoy," Leisure Services Director Percy Williamson said.
The building is in honor of the woman who was both the city's first black and first female mayor. She was first elected in 2003 and won re-election in 2005. Mayor Scarlett-Golden died in December 2006.
"There are so many wonderful things that one can say about her. She was born her, she left and later returned where she served and made both a profound and enduring impact on this city," Commissioner Henry said.
"We are greatly satisfied with the building and proud to have it named in honor of a great person and leader in our community," Mr. Williamson said.
It took about a year and a half to get the 19,500-square-foot quad-style building up and operating. The ground-breaking ceremony took place in January 2012. The cost of construction was $2.5 million.
"We actually saved funds and boosted the value of the building by using in house staff. Our city architect and our public works staff worked on the building," Mr. Williamson said.
Features include a library; gym; small theater; reading center; studios for photography, computer animation and painting; spaces for art and dance classes; rooms to learn about ecology, zoology and biology; after-school programs and homework aid; and a permanent exhibit featuring memorabilia celebrating Mayor Scarlett-Golden and the neighborhood.
"This is a true cultural and educational center for everyone in our community," Mr. Williamson said. "We will be able to expand programs and our ability to provide athletics and performing arts. The center will also have an art gallery with a local artist named Anthony Armstrong of DeLand for two to three months. In addition, there will be staff to help run the building."
The center doesn't replace any structures in the area. Derbyshire Park does still contain a building that once housed both a summer and after school program.
"This doesn't replace anything it just adds on," Mr. Williamson said. "The YMCA closed several years ago and the building at Derbyshire Park only can house 10-15 people. The park already provides numerous outdoor activities. It has basketball courts, tennis courts, racquetball courts, baseball/softball fields and a football field. This center helps provide more indoor activities."