After a long wait and more than a year of planning, designing and building, Bayside Community Center, 4833 10th St., opened in Bacliff on Tuesday.
The facility will mostly serve as a senior center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Galveston County’s Parks and Cultural Services promised to build the new community center park after officials sold Bay Shore Park in Bacliff in 2006. In 2016, the county’s road and bridge department completed parts of construction to cut costs.
In August 2016, county officials awarded a $1.9 million contract to build the park southeast of the intersection of 10th Street and Grand Avenue near the Edgewater by the Bay subdivision.
The 64-acre park’s main attraction is a large community facility that has game rooms, a cafeteria and an exercise room. There also is a pond and outdoor playground on the property.
Seniors are welcome to drive to the facility, but there’s a bus service for those who need it. The bus begins picking people up at 8 a.m. and leaves the facility about 2 p.m. depending on how many need a ride.
There are planned activities every day with a free lunch available to registered participants. Seniors can decide to participate in planned activities or they can choose to be independent in the facility, Parks and Cultural Services Director Julie Diaz said.
About 10 to 20 people went to the original community center every day, but Diaz is hoping the number will increase. Between 30 and 40 residents participated in the senior centers in La Marque and Dickinson, but both facilities were damaged by Hurricane Harvey and have yet to reopen.
The main goal of the new community center is to provide a space for seniors to be social with each other while encouraging exercise.
Although Bayside closes at 5 p.m. and is not open on the weekends, residents can rent the facility for events when it’s not in use.
Diaz plans to apply for grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for walking trails, stocking the pond with fish and constructing other outdoor amenities to cater to children and younger participants.
“This is just a start,” Diaz said. “We’re hoping to build on this facility for the next five years.”