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New activity center a hit

With city, county and state dignitaries present to lend a hand, the City of Andalusia formally dedicated the 6,000 square-foot addition to its Adult Activity Center Thursday night.

A large crowd estimated at approximately 150 people attended the affair, which included a ribbon cutting, an open house and remarks by Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White and Director of Leisure Services Dwight Mikel among others, with those attending the event finally able to see for themselves the culmination of years of planning and anticipation.

Dianne Jones, who is the assistant director of the city's Department of Leisure Services, said she thought the event went wonderfully.

"We had a great crowd come out to support the center and I think everybody enjoyed it tremendously," said Jones. "It was nice to have people such as Mayor Johnson, Greg White and Seth Hammett here supporting the center as they always have."

Jones said it was also nice to hear a host of positive remarks about the center during Thursday's grand-opening ceremony.

"Everybody was in awe of the center," said Jones. "People could not believe how big and beautiful the center is. We were hit with a barrage of compliments and it is always nice to hear that people like what you have done."

Mikel said during his remarks the idea for the addition first developed around six years ago and said the addition would not be possible without the combined effort of many people.

"There have been a lot of people work to do this," said Mikel. "Everybody that is associated with the nutrition site or the Adult Activity Center is part of this and you can pat yourself on the back for that. This is a great day and the culmination of a long, hard planning process. There is just no way to notice everybody"

Johnson also spoke of the excitement of seeing the center finally unveiled officially.

"I share everyone's excitement about this new facility," said Johnson. "This is a red-letter day for the City of Andalusia. I don't know of a facility anywhere in this state that can compare to this. I feel ill at ease taking any credit for this because most of the heavy lifting was done before I took office. For those of you who were involved, a great amount of praise goes out to you because you are the ones who started the ball rolling."

Hammett said he is pleased with how Andalusia continues to progress and said he is truly impressed by the addition, which actually opened in April.

"We've got a great facility here that all of us can be proud of," said Hammett. "As I read Dianne Jones' comments recently in the Andalusia Star-News, it is true that cities such as Montgomery, Dothan and Mobile do not have a place like this. You can't have a community if you don't have a community center, and we've got a community, and you can be proud of it."