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‘A long time coming’: Redby opens doors to new community center

The new Redby Community Center, located at 15792 Ogema Ave. in Redby, recently opened and is available for meetings and community events. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Dan Wells, Redby community coordinator, talks about the meeting space that is available at the new Redby Community Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
The new Redby Community Center features a gymnasium with six basketball hoops in it. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

REDBY -- It’s only been a few weeks since the new Redby Community Center opened its doors, but it is already working its way into the community’s future plans.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Redby Community Coordinator Dan Wells. “With the problems we have with the old community center, this new building has given us a lot of opportunities to have more activities for the youth and the elders alike.”

The new center, which opened May 23 after years of planning, will be home to a variety of events, from funeral services to memorial dinners, from birthday parties to drum and dance. The facility has a full-sized basketball gym with six hoops, two meeting rooms and full industrial kitchen, giving those who book it plenty of possibilities.

The building, funded by the United State Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe, is an upgrade from the previous community center, which was built more than 50 years ago. However, both buildings will still be used so the community can double its possibility to hold events.

“Now that we have two buildings, we can book more activities for the youth. We have more space,” said Wells. “Before, I didn’t want to book anything when drum and dance was going on, for example. Now I can because we have this new building.”

With more open availabilities, the new community center can also host cooking classes, sewing and beading classes and open gyms. Additionally, movie nights may move from the old center to the new one in the winter.

With such a new building, Wells is excited to break it in.

“We’re just trying to get used to how to run it. I want to start letting the community use it. That’s the only way I see that we’ll find all the little kinks with the building,” he said. “It’s open for the community to book and utilize.”

And although a ribbon-cutting ceremony has already taken place, the community center hasn’t yet reached its finished product. Exterior artwork, landscaping and an outdoor playground all remain in the works.

“I see a lot of possibilities of using this building,” Wells said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done with the building, but there’s a lot of potential in how we can use it.”

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, he is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at Bemidji State. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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