Council approves contract as part of Booker T. Anderson center restoration

New contract sought for delayed community center project
The Booker T. Anderson Community Center has been closed since October 2020 due to a fire. (Photo credit: Kathy Chouteau)

A construction contract to restore the fire-damaged Booker T. Anderson Community Center was approved earlier this month by Richmond City Council, but city officials say it will likely be months before the center reopens again to the community.

The community center at 960 S 47th St. in Richmond suffered extensive fire damage “as the result of homeless activities in the park” on Oct. 28, 2020, according to the city. The damage was on the west side of the building affecting the library, multi-purpose room and graphic arts room.

In November 2020, Mark Albertson Architects performed a preliminary building evaluation to develop plans to perform final abatement of all fire damaged materials. The city selected 911 Restoration as the lowest bidder to perform the work. On April 6, the City Council approved a contract with 911 Restoration not to exceed $293,000, including a $38,330.92 contingency.

“The process from start to finish may take some months in order to ensure that the building is back to its normal state and habitable for personnel to enter and services to resume,” said Jose Urquilla, facilities maintenance superintendent for the city’s Dept. of Public Works.

An exact opening date is currently difficult to gauge due to the potential for unforseen issues during the restoration process. The city wants to ensure “everything is safe and is done right,” Urquilla said, adding, the city is “making progress on a daily basis towards getting back to normal.”

Mike Kinney contributed to this report