PORTSMOUTH -- A new recreational center will soon open to serve several neighborhoods in Portsmouth after a community fight that dates back to 1979.

This week, city officials are planning to purchase the old Pines Treatment Center at 1801 Portsmouth Blvd. for about $3.75 million. Officials say building a new rec center can cost about $24 million.

'I think this is something that's been a long time coming,' Truxton civic leader Ron Lucas said.

For more than 30 years, the Truxton and Brighton neighborhoods haven't had rec centers. After families fought for change, city officials listened.

'It's one of the most under-served areas,' Deputy City Manager Brannon Godfrey acknowledged.

The 30 acres will be transformed into a rec center for surrounding neighborhoods. Godfrey expects the city to officially take ownership of the site August 27.

'It's almost ready to play ball,' council member Bill Moody said Thursday.

Right away, families will be able to use some of the athletic fields and the existing gym. The rest of the site would be developed to meet the needs of the community.

Lucas hopes members of nearby neighborhoods will be a part of that process.

'It will service not only Truxton but the surrounding communities, including Prentice Park and Brighton. It will bring lots of communities together,' Lucas said.

No date yet on the opening of the new rec center.

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