After more than 10 years, Highwood Hills Recreation Center reopens in St. Paul

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After more than 10 years, Highwood Hills Recreation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota is open once again.

The city hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, inviting the public to play and learn at the recreation center.

“This place is good. I come out here and hang out with my friends and then we all play basketball,” resident Pierre Stewart said. 

Housed in the same building as the elementary school, funding for programs and staff just wasn't available anymore, and the center closed in 2008.

“Every day and night we think about our future - which is our kids’ - we stand together for that reason,” organizer Amin Omar said.

Residents of the predominantly Somali neighborhood pushed city and school leaders to find ways to bring the rec center back for kids. Mayor Melvin Carter announced this summer he was putting $200,000 for Highwood Hills in his 2019 budget.

“The rec center is a part of my life, and I wouldn’t be who I am without the rec center,” Mayor Carter said.

Councilwoman Jane Prince, who represents the area, says without the demands from the community to restore a place where every child has an opportunity to have fun, this grand opening would not be possible.

Spring Break hours (April 1-5) will be Monday-Thursday from 1-9 p.m. and Friday from 1-6 p.m. 

School year hours will be Monday-Thursday from 3-9 p.m. and Fridays from 3-6 p.m. 

The public is also invited to attend an open house on Thursday, April 4 from 5-8 p.m.