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Sheba Turk / Eyewitness News
Email: sturk@wwltv.com | Twitter: @shebaturk

NEW ORLEANS The Lyons Center on Louisiana Avenue near Tchoupitoulas Street reopened to the public Monday and the kids wasted no time taking advantage of the new facility, which has seen $5 million in renovations.

A ribbon cutting ceremony began with music and dance as Mayor Mitch Landrieu, city council members and nearly a dozen members of the Lyons family came together to celebrate the reopening.

The center first opened in 1954 in honor of John Patrick Lyons, a 31-year old veteran killed in WWII.It has been closed since Hurricane Katrina but the building reopened with a new gym, computer room, stage, pool and a dance studio.

Officials hope it will have a positive effect on the community and they are already looking towards the future.

'It is giving people something to do, something constructive to do that will impact their quality of life,' explained LaToya Cantrell, City-Councilmember District B, which includes the Lyons Center. 'So, if we stay on that path, we know it will have a direct impact on criminal activity across the area. So, that's what we are focused on,'

NORD CEO Vic Richard spoke about other centers already in the works, saying, 'Out in the lower 9th ward, the Sanchez construction is a triplex that's being built, replacing the community center that was there pre-Katrina (and) replacing the rec center even better.And for the first time in the history of the 9th ward, there will be an indoor year round aquatics facility.'

The pool at the Lyons Center is one of 13 NORD pools open to the community for the summer. To see the full list and hours, click here.

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