Since celebrating its grand opening last summer, the Philippine Community Center and free medical clinic in the Zablocki Park Pavilion has brought new life to the park.
And on Monday, organizers decided it was time to show off a little bit.
Gerry Ramos, Executive Director of the Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation and the center’s director, along with his team of volunteers, hosted elected officials and members of the community for an informal open house to highlight the center and clinic’s successes of the last 12 months.
The clinic opened in March 2012, and the Philippine Community Center three months later. The center is home of exercise and cooking classes and workshops for children now, and Ramos hopes to expand on the offerings in the coming months.
“The county is happy with what we’ve done, that we’ve taken this underutilized space and made it into what we have today,” Ramos said.
Interim Milwaukee County Parks Director Jim Keegan said the clinic and cultural center are just one step in the revitalization of the large park on Greenfield’s north side.
“Everything that they’re doing makes it a busier park, and it’s going to be a safer park, and the county’s got some more dollars it’s looking to invest in this park,” Keegan said.
He said his department plans to rehabilitate the Zablocki Park tennis and basketball courts in the summer months. He praised Ramos and his team for working so diligently on their project.
“I remember the first day I met (Ramos) — the energy, the smile — and it’s been that way all the way through,” Keegan said. “He’s so proud of what they accomplished, and they need to be proud. Their community came together and did something that’s great for the county as a whole.
“The investment they poured into the building, the life they brought back into the building. You take a look back at what was going on before hand. It was a few rentals, but now there’s a free medical clinic that’s impacting the community and the county as a whole.”
Since opening at a different location in 2000, the free medical clinic has distributed nearly $1.7 million in medications and medical services to nearly 3,000 patients.