With an investment of $500,000, the City of Hialeah dedicated Friday a new recreation center at a city apartment complex for low-income elderly residents.
Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández said the new facility was built with state funds and will accommodate the hundreds of elderly residents of the popular apartment complex Daisy & Rosa, at 1380 W. 26th Pl.
“This building is very necessary,” Hernández said. “This apartment complex is very beautiful, but it needed a recreation area [...] every time we came here we saw people outside with nothing to do. Now we have a center that without a doubt will improve the quality of life of our residents.”
Vicente Rodríguez, director of the Hialeah Construction Department, said the center was built in seven months with an area of 4,500 square feet, and it includes a recreation hall, a kitchen, restrooms, offices and a terrace.
The work also included the repair of the complex’s draining system and the construction of pedestrian paths. Work on the complex of 300 apartments began in 2007 and was inaugurated in 2009, Rodríguez said.
Sonia López, a former librarian who retired 15 years ago, said the center will become a meeting place for people who seldom have options to socialize.
“Many times we, as adults, find ourselves stressed and depressed because we live alone inside our small apartments,” said López, 76. “That is why I feel so happy about this place where we will have a place to share.”
Julio Ponce, director of Hialeah Housing Authority, said the recreation center will also be used as a dining hall and, beginning Monday, 100 lunches will be delivered every day.
The meals will be part of the recently implemented program at Villa Alegría, a city residential area of 72 apartments opened in November at 275 Palm Ave., which was built with a $6.5 million county investment.
“We’re very happy because we will begin to serve more people who are really in need in this community,” Ponce said.
Mayor Hernández attended the inauguration of the center together with Hialeah Council chairwoman Isis García-Martínez, and council members Lourdes Lozano, José Caragol and Paul Hernández.
The mayor thanked city officials for their work to make this project a reality, especially Fred Marinelli, director of the Hialeah Department of Grants and Human Services, who was in charge of channeling the funding.
“This new building looks like a first-class hotel and was made a reality by teamwork,” Mayor Hernández said at the inauguration. “We are a family that takes care of each other [..] and now we have to take care of this building that is yours.”