Elected officials and residents in Northport gathered Monday to celebrate reopening a community center that seemed doomed for demolition less than a year ago.

As the Thread extensively covered, the city council there voted to sell the community center and the property it sits on for private development at the end of six months of due diligence.

The community center, used for decades for square dance lessons, birthday parties and more, would have been demolished to make way for apartments and a coffee shop.

Opponents of the sale were prevented from voicing opposition during public meetings and the backlash became so severe that Mayor John Hinton said he would veto the sale if it gained final council approval and force a supermajority of the council to override him.

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Ultimately, none of that was necessary. Now-Council President Christie Bobo surprised the city when in December, she introduced a resolution to kill the deal and preserve the community center. The rest of the council adopted it unanimously. 

The council then voted to invest half a million dollars into improving parks and buildings they own, including some funds to renovate and refresh the community center.

On Monday, the council - which looks different after the resignation of former president Jeff Hogg and the appointment of his replacement on the council, Anwar Aiken - celebrated the event.

"This event represents our dedication to providing valuable resources for our residents to thrive," the city said on social media.

The community center is officially reopened, with bookings available immediately and residents gathering as early as this weekend for a memorial service.


For more news from Northport and across west Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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