Weather damage repaired, Comer Center returns to Bibb City - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Weather damage repaired, Comer Center returns to Bibb City

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

  It has taken two years to get to this point, but the Comer Center in Bibb City has finally reopened after sustaining severe damage in a flood.  

  Formerly known as Comer Auditorium, it returns to the community after a long hiatus.   The building on 41st street has been a venue for concerts, sporting events, and a place for the youth of Columbus to spend time after school since 1941. Bill Holland remembers it as his home away from home.  

 "55 years since I've been here, the memories of the good times and playing basketball on the court.   Walking down from Bibb School, I worked at Bibb Mill, we would spend seventeen, eighteen hours a day here, just playing basketball and having fun shooting pool, and ping pong- playing the piano on the stage," said Holland.

 Damaged by severe weather in 2011, the cost of restoring the building was almost more than the city could afford. But with continued support from the community, government officials were able to find the funds to keep this part of Columbus history alive.  

"Let's all celebrate, because today is a wonderful day.   It's when the city can partner with the community, and embrace our history before our future," said mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

Parts of the original structure are still in place, but other features have been replaced entirely, including a brand new hardwood floor for the basketball court, and various activity rooms for games and small group activities. And the building's operation will be slightly different too.  

"Every amenity in this location can be rented for a special event.   It's not like our traditional recreation centers, such as the Frank Chester recreation center or the Shirley B. Winston, where the public can walk in off the street and utilize the location. This is going to be a reservation facility," said parks and recreation director, James Worsley. 

There's a lot of brand new space inside the Comer Center because it used to house the offices of the parks and recreation department which have moved downtown.   City officials believe this building's services will be very in-demand and they encourage you to get an early start on your next reservation.  

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