About 20 people stood in two lines, grabbed two ropes that were tied to a metal door and pulled.
The 9-foot-tall metal door smashed to the ground to signify the beginning of demolition at the Loma Verde Recreational Center in Chula Vista.
The city will spend $12.8 million replacing the 40-year-old rec center with a larger, modern facility.
“It’s sad, but it’s also really awesome that this community is finally going to get a new center,” said Sandy Chavez, who went to the Loma Verde Rec Center when it first opened. “We thought it was state-of-the-art. We were like, ‘Oh, my God, check out this rec center. Check out this pool.’ ”
“There’s a lot of sentimental value,” agreed Chula Vista City Manager Maria Kachadoorian.
Kachadoorian said the city raised the funds for demolition and construction through Measure P, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016. The money was earmarked for improvements like a new Loma Verde Rec Center.
“The recession and the challenges we had as a city — we weren’t really able to address some of those challenges,” explained Kachadoorian.
“I’m so glad that [Measure P] passed, because I’ve seen a lot of changes,” agreed Chavez.
The first two phases will include demolition and construction of a new community center, which should be completed by the end of 2022. Phase 3 will begin shortly thereafter and will include getting rid of the old pool and building two new pools with a splash-pad play area for families.
“When I heard it was going down, I was kind of sad but now I’m really excited,” concluded Chavez.