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‘Big Red,’ county rec center, debuts


The re-branding of Indian River County as (drum roll) “Your Sports Destination Paradise” received a boost this week with the official opening of the long-delayed, much anticipated, $12.3 million Indian River County Intergenerational Recreation Center.

The complex at South County Regional Park at Oslo Road and 20th Avenue SW was developed to meet growing demand for an indoor facility offering diverse recreational programming for all ages.

It is an impressive, state-of-the-art activity hub and community venue for recreational, competitive, educational, social and philanthropic functions.

The County Recreation Division will now be able to offer programming, events and rental options previously unavailable to County residents and tourists, including a hardwood basketball court, volleyball, gymnastics, martial and performing arts, virtual recreation, large seminars, gaming tournaments and other events and celebrations.

While the County has branded the impressive new facility as the iG, or Intergenerational Center, others are calling it Big Red, a name likely to stick because of the building’s unabashed barn-red color that catches the eye of anyone driving by on Oslo Road.

The concept, says County Administrator Jason Brown, was developed 14 years ago in 2002 but delayed repeatedly over the years by “multiple hurricanes and the economic downturn.”

The project finally broke ground in March 2015, funded by the Optional Sales Tax ($8.1 million) and Park Impact Fees ($4.2 million). It was designed by Architect Borrelli & Partners and built by general contractor KAST Construction.

“Patience has paid off!” says County Recreation Manager Mike Redstone.

The complex consists of two main structures: the gymnasium, able to accommodate 793 people; and a second building, housing multi-purpose rooms, game room, activity rooms, a concession area and a catering/warming kitchen. Visitors will have access to county library computer stations, equipped with library catalogs and E-research systems.

The stylish veranda, with views of water features, and the furnished courtyard provide pleasant spaces for relaxing.

Brown says the Recreation Department staff will relocate their office from the County Administration Building to the new location, and will work with four newly-hired employees to operate the Center.

The official ribbon cutting took place on Wednesday.

The Intergenerational Center, proclaims its website, is “the latest addition to the growing inventory of venues, which, together with our extensive tourist amenities, will support the branding of Indian River County as 'Your Sports Destination Paradise.' "