Neighbors share ideas for Ed Rice Center building

Neighbors share ideas for Ed Rice Center building

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The historic Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser is being replaced.

The first step in the process of tearing down the old building and creating a new space got underway tonight with a community meeting.

Frayser residents say this is overdue. They have a lot of ideas of what they might want in a new, modern space.

You don't have to look far to see major problems with the Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser.

Buckets line the floor, catching leaks from the ceiling that never stop dripping.

Still, people in Frayser know this community center is important.

“Ed Rice is the center of basically everything we do out here in Frayser,” said resident Telise Turner.

“This is where we come, this is where we frequent, this is where we play!” added resident Loretta Miller.

Last year, the city closed Ed Rice after the Election Commission declined to use it for fear of mold.

Mold tests came back negative, but city representatives say it’s time for something new for this building built in the 1960′s.

“We're here to hear from the community what they want,” said Maria Munoz-Blanco with the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods.

Thursday evening, architects from the local firm Archimania met with Frayser community members for design ideas.

Many wanted the pool to become indoors. Other ideas centered on large meeting spaces and classrooms.

“We need a sports complex,” Miller said. “We need somewhere where our citizens or residents of Frayser can be active.”

“Our population has increased, we have more young people here,” Turner said. “It needs to be larger, so we can do more.”

The architects said they will get to work on a design starting Friday and have it completed by June.

The City anticipates spending $9 million to $10 million for the building.

That money has not been earmarked in the budget yet, which means the city council will still need to approve it in the 2020 budget.

The plan right now would be to open the new community center sometime in 2020 or 2021.

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