Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was accompanying his father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on a constituency tour 56 years ago when the elder statesman laid a brick that became part of the foundation stone at Princess Elizabeth Estate Community Centre.
PM Lee yesterday placed a symbolic brick at the site where the centre used to stand, as he launched Hillview Community Club. He said: "Over this half century, Bukit Gombak has changed, life has changed."
He thanked the Merdeka Generation for their contributions to the Republic, referring to citizens born in the 1950s who accepted hardships and made sacrifices to help shape post-independent Singapore.
Eligible seniors will receive their cards for the Merdeka Generation Package soon, PM Lee said.
The cards will allow holders to offset some healthcare costs.
PM Lee first announced the package in his National Day Rally speech last year, with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat fleshing out its details in the Budget earlier this year.
Ms Low Yen Ling, an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC and grassroots adviser for Bukit Gombak, said developers took in residents' suggestions to incorporate nature into the new community club.
Said the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower: "Bukit Gombak is an area known for its distinct lush greenery... Hillview Community Club's interior is set apart by local flora and fauna as well as a special rain harvesting feature that conserves water.
"The community club has (also) become a second home for many, where friends, families and neighbours gather to bond, play, learn and grow together."
Also at the launch were Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources and Health Amy Khor, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad and Mr Yee Chia Hsing, an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC.
Long-time resident Alice Foo, 65, said the Hillview neighbourhood has changed beyond recognition since the time she worked at one of its factories as a packer when Princess Elizabeth Estate Community Centre was still around.
But the club continues to be a place where residents gather, she added. "We used to pull out chairs and watch movies in the open field near the community club," the administrative clerk said in Mandarin.
Madam Foo volunteers to organise grassroots events, including interest group activities, for Hillview Community Club. "Baby shows have always been popular, but these days, it's a bit harder to get participants," she said, referring to the dwindling birth rate. "So we have to think of more creative ways to get people to join."