LAWRENCEVILLE, IL (WTWO/WAWV) — A new chapter has begun for the residents of Lawrenceville, Illinois.

The Lawrenceville National Guard Armory has played a huge role since its beginning. However, for the past few years it has been used off and on for various different things and nothing has stuck, until now.

This armory is now being transitioned into a community center that is open to the public. Adam Niemerg is the state representative for the 102nd district and he explains how this transition is having a ripple affect across the state.

“This is really the first time this has happened. I’ve had committee members who were getting ideas. They said this is happening in the state of Illinois? So, they are looking into it as well. Repurposing this building for the people in Lawrenceville is a wonderful opportunity,” said Niemerg.

This has been the home of the National Guard for over 8 decades. Over the past few years, they have been trying to transition out of the building due to it not being up to current standards.

Richard Neely is an adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard and he expresses his excitement for the building’s next chapter.

“We’re excited to see the next generation to use the facility, for the community to use the facility, and for our heritage to continue on over the years,” said Neely.

All of the excitement in the community doesn’t stop when it comes to Lawrenceville mayor David Courtney. He has been working on this project for years and he explains the starting plan for this facility.

“We are going to do our best to provide services, recreation, and some type of social activities. We are going to go slow. We are going to be diligent, and we are going to do the right thing for the community,” said Courtney.

A transition of this type opens the door for many opportunities this area wasn’t ever able to do before. Leaders say this is going to be a day marked in history for the Lawrenceville community.

“This is a really great day for the people of Lawrenceville,” added Niemerg.

This facility is now open from 6am to 11am every day.