‘We have felt their loss.’ | City leaders, families celebrate as community centers reopen in Louisville

By 3:30 p.m. Monday, the Sammy Moore Gymnasium at Southwick had half a dozen kids shooting around, a clear sign that it was missed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Southwick Community Center was one of ten in Louisville to open its doors Monday for the first time since March 2020.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer made the decision to re-open some of the Louisville Parks and Recreation community centers based on COVID-19 positivity rates declining and more people getting vaccinated.

Wearing masks inside is mandatory, as well as temperature taking and capacity limits for each center.

“These kids have missed, they’ve basically missed a year of being a kid, so it’s just good to have them back in a safe space, in a fun space,” said Ben Johnson, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation.

By 3:30 Monday, the Sammy Moore Gymnasium at Southwick had half a dozen kids shooting around, a clear sign that it was missed.

“It’s been shut down way too long,” said parent, Travonne Buford, who brought his two kids to the playground Monday afternoon. “My daughter didn’t understand why she couldn’t come to the park, so this being back open is amazing because there’s a lot of kids, where, this is an outlet.”

Councilwoman Jessica Green called community centers “a lifeline” for kids and families. “We have felt their loss,” she said, admitting her own children are regulars at Southwick Community Center.

“We work with these kids every day, so we know not seeing them, we’re not sure if they’re okay, but having them back in our buildings, it gives us an opportunity to reconnect with them,” said Rene Douglass, Southwick Community Center’s supervisor.

“This has taken a huge toll on our young people, emotionally, socially, physically. So that’s where our focus is right now. We want to do this in a gradual way, we want to do this in a safe way,” said Johnson.

There are signs posted in the hallways informing kids of how many people are allowed in each room. For two hours each day, every center will close so that staff can clean and disinfect every surface.

Community Center visitors will also see some dramatic improvements at the facilities, including major indoor and outdoor painting and restoration projects thanks to the recreation staff.

“Some of the centers look almost brand new,” said Johnson. “Our team is excited to show our guests the improvements that have been made.”

Parks officials recommend calling each center before visiting, due to the capacity limits.

  • Beechmont Community Center, 205 West Wellington Avenue (502-361-5484)
  • Berrytown Community Center, 1300 Heafer Road (502-456-8148)
  • California Community Center, 1600 West St. Catherine Street (502-574-2658)
  • Cyril Allgeier Community Center, 4101 Cadillac Court (502-456-3261)
  • Molly Leonard Portland Community Center, 640 North 27th Street (502-776-0913)
  • Newburg Community Center, 4810 Exeter Avenue (502-456-8122)
  • Parkhill Community Center, 1703 South 13th Street (502-637-3044)
  • South Louisville Community Center, 2911 Taylor Boulevard (502-574-3206)
  • Southwick Community Center, 3621 Southern Avenue (502-775-6598)
  • Sun Valley Community Center, 6505 Bethany Lane (502-937-8802)

Centers that will remain closed until Phase 2:

  • Douglass Community Center, 2305 Douglass Boulevard (502-456-8120)
  • Metro Arts Center, 8360 Dixie Highway, (502-937-2055)
  • Shawnee Arts and Cultural Center, 607 S. 37th Street, (502-775-5268)
  • Wilderness Road Senior Center, 8111 Blue Lick Road, (502-964-5151)

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