Antioch’s New Center Emphasizes ‘Community’

By Ray Faulkenberry

The Antioch Community Center in Prewett Park opened in January and has quickly become a popular attraction in the community, despite the fact that most people aren’t even aware of it.

Some may say, “How can the city be spending money on a community recreation center when the economy is down, jobs are down, and times are tough?” There are many reasons why and I’ll get to them, but first and foremost the funds used to create this incredible center came from Mello-Roos taxes earmarked for the recreational development.

Don’t be fooled, though, we’re not just talking recreation. The city is also offering an incredible number of services and classes that promote culture, growth, physical fitness, educational opportunities and other topics. A growing library sits just inside the doors alongside a computer lab that anyone can use to surf the Internet, enjoy a cup of coffee and hang out.

The center boasts a cutting-edge preschool that is designed to enhance and stimulate our kids. Also, for the first time in Antioch’s history we have our own 10,000 square foot community gymnasium (one not at a school). This beautiful gym hosts drop-in basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, gymnastics and a variety of leagues. The gymnasium also hosts crab feeds, large conferences and a bridal faire.

As you know, nothing can be run without the right people. The community center has been blessed to have two facility managers – Susan Vasquez and Al Anthony, who are warm and incredibly dedicated to the city and its mission to enhance and support the community. They are excited about the expanding range of classes that encompass traditional fitness, martial arts, dance and the latest fitness craze – Zumba.

“We’re branching out with the fifty-somethings, as this segment of the population is growing and we want to keep them active,” said Susan.

As a fifty-something myself, I can appreciate the fact that our age needs and wants opportunities to grow, expand, learn and challenge ourselves. For example, the center has plans to incorporate more cooking classes.

Added Al, “We want to make the community center a true gathering place where people can come and hang out, learn, laugh and have fun.

Both Susan and Al are advocates of listening to the community and providing what it wants. They encourage anyone to share thoughts on classes, programs, or events that could benefit the city.

The center also has a gorgeous amphitheatre with tiered seating providing a beautiful view of the mountains as well as the performers.

“We’ve already had two concerts put on by the city where we tested everything and worked out whatever kinks we had,” said Al with more than a little passion in his voice. “The future recreation guide will list concerts. Again, we’ll see what the community wants, and we’ll do our best to give it to them.”

The conference rooms are clean, professional and beautiful. People from all over the East County are renting the banquet room for parties, weddings and receptions of all kinds.

The facility also has the potential to be a fully functioning, police substation.

“Fiscally we’re doing very well,” Susan said. “We’ve had a massive increase in registrations and we’re looking to continue to grow in 2012. We’re expecting an exciting year for the city and we’re doing our best to provide the best services possible.”

We not only have an amazing, gorgeous facility full of programs, classes and opportunity, we also have a center that is run by caring, compassionate, professional people – some of Antioch’s finest.

I’m honored to be able to offer my own small part in the center, as my son, daughter and myself teach the martial arts classes. Come out and see the facility and talk with the staff. It’s a reprieve from the stresses that we experience living in this day and age. Best of all, it is Antioch through and through: practical, professional, and warm.

Ray Faulkenberry, PhD, is an author, coach, and entrepreneur that specialize in helping people and businesses achieve their potential. He teaches Taekwondo and Kenpo at the Recreation Center on Monday and Wednesday nights. Log onto his website and for a short time receive his books on success, leadership, and transformation for free. He can be reached at or

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