Thursday, November 6, 2008

Garcia center opens

Garcia center opens
By Ryan Chalk
Article Launched: 11/06/2008

Youth take part in an impromptu game of basketball at the P.A.L. Matt Garcia Youth Center Wednesday, where several hundred members of the community turned out to celebrate its grand opening. (Ryan Chalk/

A longtime dream became a reality in Fairfield Wednesday as the city celebrated the grand opening of the Police Activities League Matt Garcia Youth Center.

Hundreds of community members filled the parking lot outside of the center on Travis Boulevard to hear from local dignitaries and P.A.L. organizers before getting a firsthand look at the center, named for the city councilman gunned down earlier this year.

Police Chief Kenton Rainey told the crowd it's an honor to have such a facility for the city's youth.

"This is a culmination of a dream many people had long before I came to the city," Rainey said. "Here in the city of Fairfield, you can see what happens when a tired community gets behind something and wants to see it happen."

Kaiser Permanente officials presented a check for $25,000 to support nutritional and fitness programs at the center which is still in need of donations.

Inside the center, kids played basketball and sparred in the center's boxing ring as adults toured the facility.

For a $10 annual fee, youth in grades 7-12, can take part in the center's programs. Hours of operation are Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Officials hope to expand hours and programs over time.