JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The City of Jacksonville has announced the opening of one of its facilities that was closed after Hurricane Florence in 2018.

Jacksonville Recreation is hosting an open house to celebrate the reopening of the Jack Amyette Recreation Center, located at 1825 South Drive.  Doors will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday.  

The center was closed in 2018 after Hurricane Florence significantly damaged the part of the structure which housed the indoor basketball court and maintenance building. It was torn down in 2020 to make way for the building of a new facility.

Jacksonville City Council approved the rebuild with improvements to include a regulation-size basketball court, spaces for student programs and activities, meeting room, offices for recreation staff, kitchen and restrooms. A $750,000 insurance settlement, plus $1 Million in federal funding from the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program were used for the project.  

 The original center, named after the first Jacksonville Recreation Director, Jack Amyette, opened to the public in 1960. The center has seen many changes and renovations over time. An outdoor playground was added in 2010, outdoor basketball courts in 2012 and a rebuilt softball field with dugouts, bleachers and lights was open to the public in 2015.  The splash pad located in the green space next to the current building was built and opened to the public in 2016.  

“We are excited to see the facility re-open to the public and encourage residents to come to the open house on February 15 to see the new space and amenities,” Susan Baptist, Jacksonville Recreation director said. “I am so pleased that we were also able to keep some of the footprint of the original building in honor of the community and Mr Amyette.

“Our goal is to continue to provide a safe haven for recreational activities not just for this area of the City, but Citywide for all ages.”