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Rosedale Breaks Ground On New Community Center

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Rosedale community activist Sondra Phillips-Gilbert at the site of the future Rosedale Community Center.
Rebecca Sheir
Rosedale community activist Sondra Phillips-Gilbert at the site of the future Rosedale Community Center.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is known for zipping around in his shiny black SmartCar. But today, Fenty's operating a different vehicle: a bright yellow hydraulic excavator, which he's ramming into the roof of the Rosedale Recreation Center, to make way for the Rosedale Community Center.

Sondra Phillips-Gilbert is wearing a white hard hat, and has an ear-to-ear grin at the groundbreaking. She's spent the last four years lobbying for the new center. "I begged, plead, prayed, cried, I almost gave up, but the spirit said no," says Phillips-Gilbert. "We had faith, and this is where we are today."

The center will include indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, public computers, a senior room and, much to the delight of community activist Brit Wyckoff, "lirbrary, library, library!"

It's the first full-scale library in Rosedale. All of which, Wyckoff says, will unite a neighborhood often known for violence and crime. "'Neighborhood' isn't just living beside. It's getting together and being part of each other's lives," says Wyckoff. "This center will change the nature of the neighborhood."

The project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2011.

Rebecca Sheir reports...

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