By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – The new four-story Carla Madison Recreation Center in Denver is officially open.

On Monday, city officials opened the state-of-the-art 67,000 sq. ft. center at the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street.

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Carla Madison Recreation Center (credit: CBS)

“This new recreation center represents what makes Denver great – health and wellness, new opportunities, community, and innovation, ” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Our rec centers bring our neighborhoods and residents together, and I’m certain that Carla Madison Rec will become a new central gathering place for Denver residents to enjoy.”

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(credit: CBS)

The new $44 million project is Denver’s largest recreation facility.

City officials say the center will provide much needed recreational opportunities to the central Denver region where a 2005 recreation needs assessment determined there was a gap in services.

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(credit: CBS)

The rec center has a long list of amenities including a lap pool, basketball courts, weight room, and even a kid’s swim area with a lazy river. It also includes an outdoor climbing wall and rooftop event space.

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(credit: CBS)

“Me and my friends have been pretty excited about the rec center opening. We’re looking to get in shape for the next cross country season,” said East High Sophomore Jack Beardshear.

The rec center is named after Carla Madison, a former city councilwoman known for her vibrancy and love of the color orange.

She repeatedly fought for a rec center in her district, but lost her battle to cancer in 2011. Denver Parks and Rec Director Happy Haynes says her message lives on.

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Carla Madison Recreation Center (credit: CBS)

“This central part of town has been underserved, and we need a facility right here in the heart of this very diverse community,” Haynes told CBS4.

An estimated 35,000 individuals expected to visit Carla Madison Recreation Center each month will be able to access the center via multiple modes of transportation such as bus or B-Cycle.

It is projected to be the most highly used center in the Denver Parks and Recreation system.

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.

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