Life just got a whole lot easier for Tampines residents with the completion and grand opening of Our Tampines Hub yesterday.
Previously, community activities were held at temporary spaces such as the plot of land next to Tampines MRT station, or the open space behind the train station.
Now, residents have a 5,000-seat stadium with a high-quality synthetic football pitch at the hub, called the Town Square.
"You can go shopping - there are all kinds of services and retail outlets. And you can just drop by Our Tampines Hub on your way home and get everything you need here," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the guest of honour at the launch.
The hub is Singapore's first integrated lifestyle hub and was born out of the ideas of thousands of residents, noted Mr Lee.
"From the idea to the realisation, residents have been involved in the process and consulted because we wanted to build a hub by the residents for the residents," he said.
This was a case of the Government trying out new things and improving as it went along, Mr Lee said, adding: "We will continue to learn, and to improve."
The first of the integrated community hub's facilities opened last November, and more were gradually opened over the past eight months.
Its latest facilities to open include the Town Square and the Festive Arts Theatre, which can seat 400 people for movie screenings and live performances.
The five-storey Tampines Regional Library reopened its doors last week after moving to the hub.
Residents can use the hub's six rooftop swimming pools, the largest children's playground in Tampines, and a sports and recreation park with four tennis courts, two futsal courts and one hockey court.
They can also use the services of 12 government agencies at the 24-hour Public Service Centre.
The number of cases the centre typically handles has almost doubled, from 5,744 transactions a month when it opened last November to 9,691 in June.
About 100,000 people visited the hub yesterday, where there were several grand opening day activities like community performances.
Mr Lee said it was good to see so many Tampines residents of different races and backgrounds celebrating together.
On Singapore's multiracial, harmonious society, Mr Lee said: "It is very precious and we must protect it, uphold it, strengthen it.
"So that we understand one another, give and take and compromise with one another, and remember always that we are one people, one nation, one Singapore," he said.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, a Tampines GRC MP, told reporters that 15,000 residents had given their suggestions for the hub, which has 2,000 volunteers running various programmes.
"We will continue to engage residents closely so we can continue to plan meaningful activities for everyone," said Mr Heng, adding: "We hope this is a place where our residents can build lasting memories."
Tampines resident Louis Lim, 27, had just tried the rooftop pool for the first time, when The Straits Times visited last Thursday.
"The other swimming complex in Tampines is smaller and more crowded. This one even has a jacuzzi pool," said Mr Lim, who is a process manager at a bank.
" I want to try the rock wall next. Everything can be found here."