It’s a big day for the Knoxville community as the city’s new Change Center officially opened its doors to the public Friday.
The Change Center was announced three years ago as part of the Save Our Sons initiative. It will offer resources and activities to help take at-risk youth off the streets.
“It’s always good to find a safe place for kids to come. A lot of times, you go to places and there’s kids and adult activities it’s harder for the kids to enjoy a place,” said Shantel Jackson, a mother who brought her son and niece to the opening festivities.
The original opening date was in August but a number of setbacks pushed it back, including bringing the old warehouse building up to date.
“It was just… I think it pulled on the heartstrings of every person that we can think of in Knoxville from Farragut to Austin Homes,” said Pastor Daruyl Arnold.
A ribbon cutting ceremony happened at 3 p.m. Friday with Mayor Madeline Rogero and other city officials.
Former Knoxville Police Chief, now TBI Director, David Rausch spoke at the ceremony. During his tenure as KPD Chief the Change Center was a project he publicly supported.
“It’s a gathering place for community, and most importantly, it’s going to change lives and change the trajectory of our inner city,” said Rausch.
Events will be held through the weekend to celebrate.
On Saturday, you can skate with the Knoxville Ice Bears mascot, Chilly Bear, followed by a skate party until 8 p.m. It will conclude with a post-hockey after party until midnight.
There will be a family skate night from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, December 23.