The gymnasium at the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts will be expanded and renovated this year with $300,000 in voter-approved recreation funds, authorities said.
Work on the 40-year-old gym, which serves more than 1,000 youngsters, could start by summer, said Don Smith, executive director of the Los Angeles Housing Authority. Some of the renovation work will be done by public housing residents who work for the authority's Kumbaya Construction Co., Smith said.
"This project is a great opportunity to improve the community and the lives of the residents," Smith said. "We are taking advantage of the opportunity to help residents acquire job skills by allowing them to work on the renovation of the gym. Having job opportunities will help move residents toward self-sufficiency, and the expanded gym will provide the community a safe place for youth activities."
The gym will include retractable bleachers and have space for aerobics and martial arts classes, gymnastics and volleyball.
"Any resources used to improve the quality of life here is a welcome event," said Daude Sherrills, a community activist and Jordan Downs resident. "That old gym is so small and compact you can't even sit down to watch a game. I just hope they live up to their word and have people who live here do the work."