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Date of Issue: November 15, 2007

New Center, fundraising continues

Surrounded by Center board members and community supporters, Executive Director Pierrette Kelly snipped a ceremonial ribbon marking the Anna Maria Island Community Centerís official grand opening Nov. 10.
Crafty cookies
Four-year-old Rain Cooper enjoys a well-crafted cookie at the Anna Maria Island Community Center grand opening event Saturday, Nov. 10. The cookie decorating station, where youngsters loaded up sugar cookies with icing and an assortment of candies, was one of many activities offered for youngsters. Islander Photos: Diana Bogan
Florida state Rep. Bill Galvano and local businessman Ed Chiles attend the Anna Maria Island Community Center's grand-opening party Nov. 8.

The new two-story Anna Maria Island Community Center had its official opening - twice, in fact - with a private, invitation-only Friday night party to recognize donors and patrons of the facility, and a day-long Saturday celebration for the public that also featured a finale to the soccer season Saturday and Sunday.

The new facility includes a fitness room, media room, teaching kitchen, theatrical stage, dance studio and outdoor recreation areas.

While the Center is not yet fully up and running with all the programs it promises to offer, it hopes to be in full swing by the winter holidays.

“The new building is a result of many people’s commitment to making this a better place,” executive director Pierrette Kelly has said.

With the opening, the Center increased its fees for membership and program participation. “We had a musty gym and a single meeting room,” Kelly said. “Now, with what we have to offer, I am not apologetic about our fees.”

The just-completed building is not completely funded, and Kelly said the board is still looking to raise $700,000 from private donors and grants.

Operating costs for the new building are an unknown, Kelly said, but she pointed out that the previous facility was 10,000 square feet and the new facility is 24,500 square feet.

The increase in membership fees helps with the upkeep of the facility.