The Moriches Community Center officially has a new home.
On Saturday, the center, located at the Town of Brookhaven’s Moriches Bay Recreation Center at 313 Frowein Road in Center Moriches, celebrated a grand opening with more than 300 friends and supporters.
The facility includes a recreation hall, a six-station computer lab, a conference room and a kitchen.
Brookhaven purchased the property in 2017 from the Knights of Columbus and developed an athletic field in the rear, which is now used by groups and the adjacent Center Moriches middle school and high school. The building is also used by the Knights of Columbus.
“They did a beautiful job renovating the place,” said the center’s director, Kathleen Johnson, of Center Moriches.
The town will be offering programs for seniors on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and the community center will have programs there after 2 p.m. on most days. They range from “Olympic Camp,” theatre arts camp, after-school tutoring and recreation events, peer leadership, a substance-abuse awareness and prevention program called “Moriches Bay In The Know,” and outreach and wellness programs.
“The partnership with Moriches Community Center and the Town of Brookhaven is mutually beneficial at our new Recreation Center,” said Councilman Dan Panico. “Our residents will have services available to them at most any age.”
The new facility “allows us to expand” and have a permanent home, Johnson, 62, said. The community center has been around for 19 years, but moved within school district over the years and rented office space for a time above Buckley’s Irish Pub.
Johnson said the center had been raising funds for a new location that it was able to invest in the project. She said the center invested $80,000 toward renovations, furniture and computers — and that didn’t include the town’s investment.
Support came from the Brookhaven Youth Bureau and grants from the Rico Memorial Foundation and the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, Johnson said.
“This will be a nice anchor for the community.”
Nancy Harkin, 57, of Center Moriches, whose grown children attended the center’s programs over the years, said the new site is “wonderful.”
“I think it’s a long time coming, and it’s thanks to the persistence of Kathleen and her people. It’s a vision that finally came through.”
Suffolk Legis. Rudy Sunderman, who represents the area and attended the grand opening, said the center offers “a great opportunity for our youth to our seniors, as well an opportunity to allow other community groups to utilize this beautiful facility. Thank you to the Town of Brookhaven for an awesome job and I look forward to more to come.”
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