HOUSTON -

For Northside Village, a celebration for the opening of a community center has been a long time coming.

"It's something that has been sorely needed in this area for so, so long," said community member Sandra Puente. "We're just very proud."

Saturday was the opening day for the center. It was named in honor of Leonel Castillo, a great public servant, who passed away on Nov. 4 at 74-years-old.

Residents say it isn't just a building, it's an investment for the future.

"Today is a special day," said Avalyn Castillo-Langemeier, Castillo's daughter. "It was going to be special no matter what, now it's even more special because he's not here with us."

It was just 12 short months ago that ground broke on the building. It not only serves as a reminder of Castillo, but it will also serve a community that needs it.

"He was a friend. He was the backbone of our community," said one resident.

Castillo was a true pioneer, a civil rights leader and the first Hispanic to be elected as city Controller in 1971.

"I don't think there is a better way to honor him than to give something this great for the community."