Gallery: Mechanicville Gym Reopens
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning for the recently renovated Mechanicville Gym in Houma.
Local elected officials, Recreation District 11 board members and several other members from the community gathered on the court to hear remarks from guest speakers, including Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove, Rec 11 Chairman Ronald Rainey, Councilman John Navy and NFL Champion and Houma native Elijah McGuire.
“What a beautiful recreation area,” Dove said to applause. “What a great showing of what [Rec 11] did in remodeling and rebuilding this gym. I want to thank the members directly.”
Dove also noted how instrumental Navy was in getting the gym remodeled, and he noted the efforts of Councilman Carl “Carlee” Harding as well.
Rainey also spoke, detailing why there was a need for the $2.5 million project due to lack of upgrades and repairs over the years. He also urged the audience to keep the gym intact for future generations.
“Talk to your children, your grandchildren. Let them know to take care of this facility,” he said. “At one time, you couldn’t get a set of nets put on basketball goals out there. So have them take care of…what’s theirs.”
Navy touched on the difficulty of getting the remodeling complete.
“I caught a lot of heat. I had a lot of powerful, strong people fighting to not put this kind of money in this area. And I’m not going to race, it had nothing to do with that,” he said. “It’s just what people’s expectations are of us.”
He then echoed the same sentiments of Rainey.
“We have to make sure that this facility is well kept. We, as a community, have to come together and make sure we do what’s necessary,” Navy continued. “This is a blessed community and this is God’s gift to all of us right here.”
Navy introduced Merlin Lirette, the project’s architect.
“When we first looked at the project, it was hard to believe the situation that the existing gym was in,” Lirette said. “It was a tough challenge.”
He also noted the only major thing they didn’t do was take down a couple of walls in the inside office area and the structure.
“Everything else was basically new, so you have a rebuilt gym,” he said. “I’m very proud to be a part of this project and to work with the community. It’s, again, a major renovation and took a lot of work by a lot of different people, and I hope the community enjoys it.”
McGuire got in front of the audience shortly after, and shared personal stories of not only his time playing at the facility but also his time growing up in the nearby area. He said he was “literally born” in the East Side, as his mom gave birth to him at their home there.
Mechanicville Gym was his way to stay out of trouble, he said.
“This was the sanctuary,” McGuire said. “It’s a place I came to enjoy myself.”
After telling his story from high school through the NFL Championship, McGuire was given the Key to the City by Dove and Navy.
View photos from the ceremony and of the new state-of-the-art facility: