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Project to revitalize St. Paul's East Side nears completion

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Phase one to revitalize a St. Paul neighborhood is almost complete.

The $14 million, 40,000-square-foot Arlington Hills Community Center, which features the new Arlington Hills Library and Arlington Recreation Center (complete with an athletic facility and playgrounds) is done being built, according to a press release about the project. It just needs some finishing touches before the May 22 grand opening.

The project, known early on as the Payne Maryland Project, was designed to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a hub of activity. The development is located at the intersection of Payne and Maryland Avenues on St. Paul's diverse East Side.

On Monday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman held his state of the city address at the community center, the Pioneer Press says, and held it up as a prime example of St. Paul's commitment to evolving for the future.

"Almost a decade in the making, this center is a $14 million investment in the future of the East Side and its families. What was once a corner anchored by a small hardware store and an obsolete 1970s-era rec center will soon be a center of innovative learning and youth development," Coleman said, according to the Pioneer Press.

The City of St. Paul uploaded a YouTube video February that gives a tour and construction update on the community center:

Discussion for the Payne Maryland Project began in 2006 and construction for the community center, which was built by Minneapolis-based construction company Kraus-Anderson, started in April 2013.

Phase two of the project, which will house the project's private partners, is pursing the funding necessary to begin construction. When both phases are complete, the facility will address programing needs of the recreation center, the library, the Arlington Hills Lutheran Church, the Bradshaw Celebration of Life Centers, the Eastside YMCA and other community service organizations, according to the press release.

In Coleman's state of the city address he also mentioned a $200,000 grant to aid a citywide expansion of the city's youth violence prevention program, a call for redevelopment of the Palace Theatre, and he touted development and projects including the Central Corridor and the Lowertown ballpark, the Pioneer Press reports.

Last Friday, Coleman announced other possible projects in St. Paul's future, including redevelopment opportunities in the downtown area.

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