To preserve, protect, maintain and enhance the city's parklands and recreational facilities and engage people in leisure activities that contribute to their quality of life.
J.W. Cate Recreation Center is a 20,447 sq. ft. facility funded with Penny for Pinellas dollars. The building has a competition size high school style gym, 4 program rooms and a large multi-purpose room, which can be divided into 3 smaller meeting rooms. Other features include offices, youth lockers, public restrooms and a full size kitchen. The program rooms are divided among teen activities, art programs, and before and after school programs and a variety of classes taught by professionals in their field.
The building houses the art of Ray King. The international glass artist's work, "Skywalk" was selected from over 160 proposals for public art by the City of St. Petersburg Public Arts Commission through the Percent for the Arts program. They are visible from the main hall of the building as well as from the street. Six 20 ft. long dichroic glass arcs curve through the space of the ceiling clerestory/lanterns in the entrance and hallway of the building. The arcs reflect and project light and color in the corridor, floor, walls and into some rooms. Each piece of the glass reflects a color and its complementary color depending on the angle of the sun. Hundreds of glass cylinder "jewels," laminated in dichroic film, are inset into the dark floor tile below the arcs. They reflect light and project color recreating the sensation of walking on light. Dichroic film was developed by NASA. It bends and breaks up light waves into individual colors. "Skywalk" is designed to take advantage of the light entering the building.
The Northwest Youth Center, as it was originally named on May 23, 1957 by city council, officially opened in September, 1957. On June 19, 2007, Northwest Recreation Center was dedicated to the memory of a long time City Council Member, respected community leader and clergyman. Rev. J.W. Cate, Jr. served the city of St. Petersburg from 1971 to 1991 as council member of District 1, and was once called the Dean of City Hall and the conscience of City Council. He also championed many community causes, and was Senior Pastor of nearby Palm Lake Christian Church from 1966 until his retirement in 1999.
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