NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Children and adults will soon have a new place to practice sports after North Charleston broke ground Wednesday on a new recreation center that will replace the Danny Jones Athletic Complex.

Cary Grant worked for the North Charleston Recreation Center for decades. “I worked here approximately 27 years,” Grant said.

He said during that time, he’s learned how vital it is for children to have a place to play sports in their community.

“They’re at school all day. After school, they want to come out and play and run around, it’s very important,” Grant said.

He said the old Danny Jones Athletic Complex didn’t offer everything kids needed; however, the new facility – which is set to offer more in terms of youth athletics – is on the way.

“We’re trying to provide a better quality of life for the citizens of North Charleston,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.

The rec center will have baseball fields, basketball courts, and pickleball courts.

Mayor Summey said he’s most excited about temperature-controlled pools because he believes a lot of children in the Charleston metro area don’t know how to swim.

“One of the things we care about is that every child has the chance to learn to swim. We have a high mortality rate for young people drowning in the greater Charleston area, and we want to make sure they’re all safe when they get around water,” Summey said.

Grant said he can’t wait to see this space meet the needs of so many people.

“A lot of kids are very deprived right now. It will change their lives dramatically,” Grant said.

The project is expected to be done by the beginning of 2024.