UPDATE: To register for programs at the John D. Rita Recreation Center, visit: http://www.blueisland.org/john-d-rita-recreation-center/
Thank you to everyone who attended the re-opening of the Recreation Center and dedication to former Mayor John D. Rita and Alderman Carlee Jackson.
Mayor Vargas joined area state representatives, family of two former community leaders and local residents to reopen the Recreation and Community Center after a year-long, $300,000 renovation project to return the facility to the safe place to learn and play it was when first envisioned in 1978.
Vargas and others cut the ribbon on reopening the facility and dedicated the building to two key leaders: the John D. Rita Recreation Center, for the popular former mayor who helped the make the center a reality, and the Carlee Jackson Jr. Gym, for the city’s groundbreaking alderman who represented the center and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Rita served as mayor from 1978 to 1985 and helped turn the center from an initial idea in 1978 to a community jewel when it opened in 1980. Jackson became the city’s first African-American alderman in 1997 and served the California Gardens community around the Rec Center with distinction until 2009.
Plaques honoring John Rita Sr. and Carlee Jackson have been installed inside the recreation center to serve as reminders of the commitment and leadership both displayed daily for the people of Blue Island. Those attending the ceremony also watched a video about the center’s history and importance to the city.
To view the before and after of the facility, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_-QfLGerUA