DUBLIN, Ga. — Dublin's historic Oconee Gym will soon undergo a major facelift.
Dublin is one of 142 projects awarded state grants for parks and recreation projects. They total more than $225 million statewide. Mayor Joshua Kight says this is a community lead project.
"The Oconee Gym is a safe place in this neighborhood for kids to gather together and play and, really, for the community to gather together," Kight said.
The gym is the only indoor gathering space for the community in the neighborhood. It's been that way since 1961. Bennie Jones with Dublin City Council used to attend kindergarten nearby.
"As a kid, and you see people, you're like, 'Where the crowds at?' And you see people, everybody was over here playing softball," Jones said.
Oconee High School used to sit right beside the gym.
"If you go in there now, you will see that it is dark, dingy, and it's really been uncared for for a long time. At the end of this renovation project, it will be full of light and full of life," Kight said.
According to Mayor Kight, for decades, folks have used the same bathrooms, bleachers, and same basketball floor.
"The restrooms are archaic -- the gym floor needs to be redid, need to open up the windows, the windows -- some kind of way -- got bricked up," said Jones.
The renovations will include the basketball court, weight training room, stage, and restrooms. The front of the building will also be enhanced with a more functional entrance.
"People start seeing things get done, all of a sudden, there is hope, there is something -- they are doing something over here," Jones said.
Teresa Holliday is a community activist. She looks forward to how the facility will grow, "To make room for other programs to come over here, and just add to the collection, add to the resources."
The renovations should help more folks participate in the community.
"I just want people to appreciate it -- appreciate it in every aspect. Utilize your parks, utilize your recreation centers," Holliday said.
In June, the city will host a listening session.
Renovations for the gym should be complete by the end of 2024.