ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ The Avondale Youth and Family Development Center is pictured on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. It is among a group of community centers that will reopen Thursday following their closure due to COVID-19.

Multiple community centers in Chattanooga will resume operations Thursday as a part of a phased reopening plan after all facilities were shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.

The first facilities to reopen Thursday will be the Avondale, Brainerd, Carver, Hixson, John A. Patten, Shepherd, South Chattanooga and Westside community centers. They will also serve as an access point for COVID-19 vaccinations. Their hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, according to a Tuesday news release.

"Community centers play a critical role in uplifting our city's youth by offering them healthy activities and access to mentors in a safe and educational environment," Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said in a statement. "I would encourage everybody to help keep these centers open by getting vaccinated to protect yourselves and our city's most vulnerable residents."

(READ MORE: COVID-19 case surge prompts closures in Chattanooga, new national face mask recommendations)

Citing progress in curbing infection rates and getting residents vaccinated, the city's plan is to bring back safe spaces for youth and families heading into the winter.

While additional services will roll out as vaccination rates increase, the centers will still offer exercise activities, children's activities and homework and tutoring support, said Kinnawa Kaitibi, spokesperson for the Chattanooga Department of Community Development.

some text
Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Jennifer Crutchfield teaches a group of children at the Brainerd Youth and Family Development Center on Thursday, July 15, 2021. The center is among a group of community centers that will reopen Thursday following their closure due to COVID-19.

"We want the communities to have a safe, fun and enriching environment for all ages throughout the day while at the same time keeping in mind that we are still dealing with the COVID pandemic," Kaitibi said.

The reopening of other community centers will be announced at later dates. Eventually, community centers will be permitted to book events and fully restore their programs.

(READ MORE: Community members express concerns about closed Chattanooga recreation centers)

The centers will require social distancing and abide by the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 51% of Chattanooga residents are vaccinated, and the Healthy Chattanooga Coalition has set a goal of achieving a minimum 60% vaccination rate for workers by Dec. 1, according to city officials.

Contact Logan Hullinger at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.

some text
Staff file photo / Keshawn Eberhardt, 12, shoots a basket during the grand opening for the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The center is among a group of community centers that will reopen Thursday following their closure due to COVID-19.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT