HARDEEVILLE’S $8.5 MILLION MULTI-PURPOSE RECREATION CENTER READY TO DEBUT
There has been a growing sense of anticipation and elation within the 56-square-mile city of Hardeeville — recently listed among the fastest growing municipalities in South Carolina.
The excitement is focused around the $8.5 million, 35,000-square-foot indoor, multi-purpose recreation center that has been a gleam in the eyes of community leaders for more than six years, but actually has taken shape in just the past two years.
The new facility is located on a parcel of wooded acreage near the corner of John Smith Road and McTeer Street just off the city’s main drag — Whyte Hardee Boulevard.
And, according to Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams: It’s going to be a tourism attraction as well as a venue that he believes “will help bring our very diverse community closer together in many positive ways.”
Mayor Williams and the City Council are eagerly looking forward to the official grand opening the final weekend of July, with the first public viewing on Saturday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be a festive event with free giveaways, tours, demonstrations, food and more.
Jennifer Combs, director of the City of Hardeeville’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, said the prime features of the facility will include an NCAA-size basketball court with seating for 1,000 spectators, plus courts for volleyball, racquetball and pickleball. Other competitive teams like cheerleading and gymnastics will be welcome.
The venue is expected to attract a wide range of clubs, schools and organizations from throughout the region to use its facilities as it expects to host a variety of invitational tournaments.
Hugo Montenegro is the new Recreation Center Manager. He will oversee most of the programming at the center from exercise classes for seniors to invitational competitive events.
The 2,200-square-foot events room at the center can be divided into three meeting spaces and is larger than any other meeting space in Hardeeville. It will be able to host activities as well as events that have previously been a challenge, or impossible.
“As you can see, I look forward to this multi-purpose recreation and community center becoming a major asset for our quality of life in Hardeeville as well as an economic driver,” said Mayor Williams. “It will not only bring adult groups together for functions but, more importantly, become a safe gathering place for our youth, and thereby help solve the issue of unconstructive idle time.”
In many ways the multipurpose center will serve as a linchpin for Mayor Williams’ goals that have been set for Hardeeville’s “smart growth” economic plan moving forward.
For example, Montenegro is already working with pickleball organizations across South Carolina to attract tournaments to Hardeeville. He is also looking to host indoor league play among teams in the surrounding area as quickly as possible.
Additionally, the multi-purpose facility includes a state-of-art, fully-equipped fitness center, which should attract a strong following of both residents and visitors using local hotel and motel accommodations. It is accompanied by a stylish indoor walking track.
Total cost for the recreation center is $8.5 million, with $6.5 million coming from accommodations tax revenues (A-TAX) and the remaining $2 million from borrowed funds –— a fixed, 15-year loan from BB&T Bank (now TRUIST) at 3.1%.
The facility was designed and constructed by Bobbitt Design Build, a prominent construction firm with offices in Columbia, Charlotte and Raleigh.