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East Lansing’s Hannah Community Center celebrating its 20th anniversary

The East Lansing Hannah Community Center.
City of East Lansing
The East Lansing Hannah Community Center.

East Lansing’s Hannah Community Center is commemorating its 20-year anniversary. What started as an idea from residents has now become the heart of the city’s recreational activities.

In the late nineties, East Lansing residents proposed turning the former building of Hannah Middle School on Abbot Road into a place where people could gather, host events, and play sports.

East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts Director Cathy DeShambo says the center has since become a community hub for residents to come and participate in a variety of activities.

“On a Saturday, you can walk into the building and see people who are coming in for swim lessons or families that are coming in for basketball programming, or people who are coming in for the theater performance that evening.”

The Hannah Community Center is named after former Michigan State College, now university, President John A. Hannah. After John Hannah Middle School closed in 1997, the building stood empty until 2002 when the center opened to the public.

Kathleen Miller, the program coordinator for the city, says several generations of children have come to enjoy the center.

“Pre-COVID You could walk in here on a Saturday morning in the winter, and both gyms would be full with kids playing. ... So it's just a place where people come to make memories.”

After being forced to cancel an in-person celebration this month due to COVID, DeShambo says they are planning to host an all-day family-friendly event in June.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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