Her first time through Cohoes’s new Gateway Sports Complex, Debbie Jacques couldn’t wait to try out the new equipment.

“It’s good; you feel the burn,” Jacques said as she completed a brief workout with the ropes machine.

What You Need To Know

  • On Friday morning, the ribbon was cut at the new Gateway Sports Complex in Cohoes

  • Featuring a newly renovated pool, basketball court and other workout spaces, the business replaces the former Cohoes Community Center

  • Prior to shutting down two years ago, the Cohoes Community Center operated for more than 50 years on Remsen Street

Touring the renovated facility was a bit like a blast from the past for the lifelong city resident. She first came to the Remsen Street building as a kid when it still operated as the Cohoes Community Center.

“Growing up here in Cohoes, that was a part of everyone’s life with the pool and all the other activities they had going on,” she said.

After two years of sitting vacant, Friday afternoon’s ribbon cutting ushered in the building’s next chapter. Owner Craig Roopchand operates several other non-profit Gateway Sports Complexes in the New York City area. All are centered around swimming.

“Swimming, to me, is a life-saving skill,” Roopchand said. “It’s not really offered a lot to inner-city people. Bringing people to the swimming pool, to me, it’s a life-saving skill.”

“When it was the Cohoes Community Center, it truly was a center of the community, and I hope they can establish that same type of spirit under Gateway,” Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said.

On top of the new pool, the building features upgraded locker and bathrooms and newly added weight and cardio spaces.

“I grew up on these basketball courts, so it’s great to be back in here,” Keeler said. “The floors have been refinished, the walls have been painted; it’s never looked this good.”

“A lot of work needs to get done in the facility, but we’re about 80 percent complete,” Roopchand said.

Roopchand says Gateway should be fully opened within the next three weeks. That’s great news for Jacques and the city’s youngest generation.

“Growing up for me is different than growing up for kids like my grandchildren and things like that; it’s a different world,” Jacques said.

“It’d be nice to have a place where you can have them in a secure area, bring them in to swim, go play in the gym, and you know they’re safe.”