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Long Beach MLK Center to reopen Saturday

The Long Beach Martin Luther King Center -- shuttered for months by superstorm Sandy -- is expected to reopen Saturday.

The 33-year-old community center, which sustained 2 feet of flooding and lost its heating systems, kitchen and bathrooms in Sandy, has been completely rebuilt, city officials say. A reopening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at the center, in the city's North Park neighborhood.

Councilwoman Eileen Goggin said it is fitting the city is reopening the center three days after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in which King played a pivotal role.

The center "is reopening its doors so it can continue to provide the many wonderful resources and services it has always provided to the people of Long Beach," Goggin said.

"The Long Beach Martin Luther King Center has been an integral and important part of the Long Beach community for many years," she said.

The city owns the 12,000-square-foot center, while Long Beach Martin Luther King Center Inc. provides many programs there. The original Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center operated out of a library on Park Place and opened in 1967.

City workers performed all of the rebuilding work, except for flooring, which a contractor handled, city officials said. They declined to estimate the total cost of the work.

They estimated in February that the bill would exceed $200,000.

The ceremony, at 615 Riverside Blvd., is open to the public.

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