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Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium renovations complete

Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman cut the ribbon during the open house for the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium. The city plans to host outdoor concerts, invite citizens to use it as a wedding venue or meeting place. Chapman said the renovations to the gym have been a longtime dream for residents and newcomers. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman cut the ribbon during the open house for the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium. The city plans to host outdoor concerts, invite citizens to use it as a wedding venue or meeting place. Chapman said the renovations to the gym have been a longtime dream for residents and newcomers. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)

PORTERDALE — After completing the renovations, the city of Porterdale welcomed the public to an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday.

The outdoor venue features a kitchen for catering as well as a bride room for when weddings are hosted on site.

The gym was built as a gift to the city from Oliver and Julia Porter, the owners of Bibb Manufacturing Company. The facility was built with wood floors and wood bleachers that could seat as many as 5,000 people. The structure was vacant and in need of repair when a fire destroyed it in October 2005.

Covington-Newton Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall commended the city’s efforts to restore the gym’s use.

“The momentum of Porterdale is encouraging whether that’s through the renovation of this historic venue or the rehab of housing and lofts, but it’s something to take pride in,” Hall said.

Mayor Arline Chapman said the gym has been a longtime dream for residents and newcomers in Porterdale.

“I’m so glad we’ve had the support to make this happen. Everything from the new kitchen and room to each special decor plays an important part in the spirit of what this place will be,” Chapman said.