ELK GROVE, Calif. — The city of Elk Grove is preparing to open its very first community center on Thursday afternoon.

It's called the Center at District56, and it's located on the same campus as the city's brand new Aquatic Center off of Civic Center Drive. 

"The D56 concept has been in creation for decades," said Lana Yoshimura, the Community Events Center Manager for the city of Elk Grove.

Decades later, the city of Elk Grove now has a place of unity. A place where people can spend their free time. A place where they can have family events.

The community center is split into three different parts made up of space to rent out for meetings, weddings and special events.

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"This is the largest banquet hall in Elk Grove, so this is something that the community has been in need of in my opinion," Yoshimura said.

It also includes space for the new Senior Center of Elk Grove and will be home to three non-profits, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Marine Corps League, which make up the Veterans Memorial Hall.

When veterans aren’t using the facility, it can be used as a reservable space for the public.

Plus, there is a locally owned cafe.

"I can see the vision coming to reality, and that's always very exciting because this is going to be a tremendous resource for the Elk Grove community and the surrounding region,” Yoshimura said. “We think it's a beautiful modern facility that's going to create memories for generations to come.”

This comes a full 20 years after the city of Elk Grove incorporated and exploded to 175,000 people. The infrastructure to support that growth is something that Elk Grove City Manager Jason Behrmann said the city is dealing with as quickly as possible.

"We're trying to catch up with amenities and facilities,” Behrmann said. “We just earlier in the spring of 2019, we opened up our new aquatic center, and now we're opening up this facility. We opened our first animal shelter a few months back, and so we're now finally creating and developing all of these great amenities that will make Elk Grove a great place to live and play.”

The city is hosting a grand opening celebration Thursday evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the new community center on City Center Drive.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Lena Howland.

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