Upgrades, updates and renovations are underway at the McDonald Hughes Community Center in Tuscaloosa's West End, a city spokesperson said Monday morning.

The community center is owned and operated by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority and located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, just north of the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy.

The $1.5 million project is funded by Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox's Elevate Tuscaloosa plan, which raised the city's sales tax to fund improvements to area education initiatives, connectivity, cultural arts and parks and recreation development.

This round of work will add a canopy to allow visitors to stay dry when visiting the community center in the rain, a new floor for the gym, restroom upgrades and an indoor playground for children.

(City of Tuscaloosa)

"Participants who attend weekly exercise classes are thrilled to have a safeguard from inclement weather as they enter and exit the Hughes Center," City Councilwoman Raevan Howard said. "And the playground unit, with its bright colors, will be a pulse for children attending the center. When the project is finished, those who attend the center will hopefully find their visit more comfortable and pleasurable."

Maddox said the upgrades coming to McDonald Hughes are part of his long-term goal to address blight in the city's West End.

“When taking office in 2005, I pledged to reverse the decades of neglect in West Tuscaloosa. Together, we have made significant progress and Elevate Tuscaloosa provides the tools to accomplish even more,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor, Walt Maddox. “The enhancements to the McDonald Hughes Center will further connect and engage with the communities it serves. And, it's only the beginning for the center and West Tuscaloosa.”

Renovations are expected to be completed by Oct. 23, 2020.

For more information about Elevate Tuscaloosa, visit ElevateTuscaloosa.com.

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