It’s a faith-based spin on entertainment that’s open to anyone regardless of their religion, said Patrick McGrew, general manager.
The Riverside EpiCenter, built by Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral but operated independently, will have a grand opening at 11 a.m. today at 135 Riverside Parkway near Interstate 20.
With 112,000-square feet of space, the EpiCenter includes a 600-seat auditorium, 300-seat ballroom, a rock-climbing wall, six-lane bowling alley, audio-recording studio, two-story youth center with an arcade and a professional meeting room with video-conference capability.
A fitness club, called EpiFitness, also contains an aerobic and dance studio, weight room, massage rooms and an NCAA-sized basketball court with seating for 220 spectators.
Six food vendors will be based on the site including Subway, Einstein Bros Bagels, Tony Morrow’s Real Pit Barbecue, Creole Nouvelle Express, Internet Café and Suco Organic Juice Bar.
McGrew said there’s a need for clean entertainment in the area, which is known for its high crime rate.
“What better place and in what better community can you provide an environment that is safe and keeps them off the streets and surrounds them with very positive activities?” McGrew said of the area’s youth.
The Rev. Chris Boyd, pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, said the idea was to combine a number of different activities and attractions to create a true community atmosphere.
“Even though they may seem diverse, when you really step back and think about it, they really do dovetail nicely together,” Boyd said.
Boyd said the area’s reputation of high crime is “no secret” and though south Cobb’s crime rate wasn’t a direct consideration in the building of the center, there’s a need for positive alternatives on the corridor.
“It’s just great to be a part of helping to raise the level of opportunity and hope that’s present in the community,” Boyd said. “If there is really one key term as a positive thing happening in this community, it’s hope.”
Boyd wants that sense of hope to translate into the daily lives of the residents that will frequent the center.
All areas are open to the public, regardless of religious affiliation, but some may require advanced rental and fees. The center plans to partner with Six Flags for some events.
The center will hire between 100 and 200 people.
If you go:
What: Grand opening of Riverside EpiCenter, a 112,000-square foot community center
Who: Built by Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral at a cost of $34 million Where: 135 Riverside Parkway near Interstate 20
When: 11 a.m. today
Contact: Patrick McGrew at (678) 903-5480