Ribbon cut on reborn McCreary Community Building

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The $1.7 million remodeling of the McCreary Community Building was brought to a ceremonial completion Wednesday afternoon with a ribbon cutting in front of the facility.

The MCB leadership team of Perry Parks and Recreation Director John Anderson and Assistant Director Becky Halling did the honors of severing the blue band. Brief remarks followed from Anderson and Perry Mayor John Andorf.

“We’re grateful to the community for their patience and support during this project,” Anderson said. The derecho wind storm slowed work at the MCB and left a few details to finalize, he said, but he encouraged the 50 people at the ribbon cutting to tour the facility, which will open for regular operation Thursday at 6 a.m.

Andorf said various renovations to the MCB have been made piecemeal over several years, from the repaved parking lot in 2013 to the $250,000 roof replacement in 2018 to the $280,000 replacement of the MCB’s 35-year-old chillers and boilers in 2019.

Andorf also recalled the importance of opinions expressed by Perry residents when surveyed in 2018 for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

“We can all be proud and excited about what we’ve done with this building,” Andorf said, which after more than 30 years of use had come to look “a little tired” before the renovations.

The McCreary Community Building opened Sept. 24, 1983, with help from a $650,000 bequest from the estate of Rex and Irma McCreary of Perry. The McCrearys made several stipulations about what their money could be used for when put toward a community center in Perry, including requiring senior services and daycare services and a city match of the McCreary funds.

The taxpayers of Perry approved a $1.14 million bond issue for the center in the summer of 1981. The rec center has always operated at a loss, but the value of the facility as a public asset — what is sometimes termed its social value — has made it well worth supporting over the years, according to Perry residents and city officials.

In January 2020 the council approved a resolution that “expresses support from the Perry City Council for the renovation of the McCreary Community Building and also for the multiple benefits associated with this renovation.” The official approval allowed the city to seek additional grant funds from a variety of sources.

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