ALACHUA – The City of Alachua will cut the ribbon on a recreation center expansion project Thursday, May 17, nearly six months after city officials sealed the deal on the purchase of the 105-acre parcel of land in December.

The ceremony will celebrate Project Legacy, an endeavor that involved raising $1.2 million to acquire a large tract of undeveloped land adjacent to the Hal Brady Recreation Complex.

After more than a year of fundraising, in November 2011, county commissioners agreed to provide the last and single largest block of funding needed for the 105-acre expansion. The county’s contribution of $500,000 is being taken from bed taxes, fees collected on hotel, motel, campground and similar rentals.  The last-minute funding agreement was critical as the city’s contract to purchase was set to expire Dec. 31.

The additional land more than quintuples the original 25-acre recreation complex, bringing the entire site to a whopping 130 acres.  Much of the newly-acquired property had already been used occasionally, when the city hosted large events, like its annual Fourth of July celebration and sports tournaments.

In exchange for the county’s contribution to the purchase, the City of Alachua has committed to building three multi-purpose arenas with seating and lighting that could be used for lacrosse, a growing sport, among other activities.  Those arenas would come at an estimated cost of $300,000, city officials say.

The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting celebration, which will include area dignitaries and donors to Project Legacy.  City officials say refreshments will be served.

Anyone wishing to attend is asked to enter the Hal Brady Recreation Complex via Peggy Road/County Road 2054.  The event is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 17.