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GRETNA, La. - On Saturday, Gretna officials will celebrate the grand opening of a new multipurpose recreational facility.

The $6.5 million project on Belle Chasse Highway created the 22,000 square foot Mel Ott Park Recreation Center.

There will be programs for children, adults and seniors at the facility, which can also be used for rentals, according to Gretna Councilman Vincent Cox.

'Our old gym was basically just a square box. After Katrina it was damaged. We didn't have the facilities to do summer camps. We didn't have the facilities to bring what we needed to bring to our youth recreation. This building is going to take care of that. It will be the rival of any recreation facility, I think, in the metro area,' Cox said.

The 500-seat gym can be used for multiple activities, including baby showers, small weddings and meeting spaces, Cox said.

'We're already getting calls for rentals. (Boxing promoter) Les Bonano wants to have fights here...Wildcat Entertainment wants to do wrestling events here. So, it's also going to be a venue for economic development to bring folks to Gretna,' he said.

Cox said the facility is the biggest building project the council has undertaken in the 26 years that he has been a member.

The dedication takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by the first officials activity - a basketball game between the police department and fire department.

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