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Doors are opening for Evergreen Park’s new community center

By Joe Boyle

The electricity will be turned off for the final time at the Maher Community Center to make room for a new state-of-the art facility in Evergreen Park.

The Maher Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St., will close for good on Monday, Feb. 25, ending a 68-year era of activities at the building. The new building will open at 97th and Clark Street.

While the building will open its doors this week, Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said no special ceremony will be held as of yet.

“Let’s let them get settled in there first,” the mayor said. “They need time to work things out and get everything in order. We will probably do something in late March or in April.”

The new building will have several rooms for preschool and youth activities. A daycare center will also be available on the premises.

The new facility will be more spacious than the old Maher Community Center. The mayor and village officials are looking forward to stepping into the $6 million building.

“Time marches on and you have to look ahead,” the mayor said previously about the new building. “I liked the old building and it has served us well. But this is the 21st century and it will be great to have something brand new. I can’t wait it for it to open.”

The village has been preparing for the move for some time. The Evergreen Park Senior Council, along with the Office of Senior Services, held a “Moving Sale” earlier this month for residents. During the move, many craft items were discovered, ranging from flowers, beads and ribbons.

Members of the community, including seniors, have said they are eager to move into the new building.

The Maher Community Center was built in 1951 for the then Evergreen Park Christian School. The village purchased the building when the Southwest Christian School and Church opened in Oak Lawn.

After serving over 35 years as a recreation facility, a senior services center and youth department, the old building has reached its limit, according to center representatives.

Besides rooms for preschool and daycare, the new facility will have a library, a new senior citizens office, a youth office, and a reading garden just outside the building.The new building will also have plenty of room for storage.

“The growth of those departments has created the need for the new, state-of-the-art building,” according to a release provided by the Village of Evergreen Park.

Village officials agreed with Sexton that a period of transition will be necessary for employees and volunteers to get used to the new building. The grand opening will take place when the weather improves, according to the village.

 

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