In the early to mid-1970s, the city of Greensboro saw the need for a community recreation center to serve residents in the city’s southwest. In 1976 construction began on a new center which was to be called the South West Recreation Center. The Greensboro City Council decided instead to honor William Lee Trotter, Jr for his outstanding commitment to the residents of Greensboro and to name the new center after him. On August 2, 1976, the city council approved the resolution to name the new center the William L. Trotter, Jr. Community Center, and on December 15, 1977, the Trotter Center opened.
William Lee “Bill” Trotter Jr. (1909-1980) became
president of Southside Hardware Company after William L. Trotter Jr.
serving as a private and then a corporal in the United States Air Force, serving for two years in England. He was a member of the Greensboro City Council from 1959 to 1971 and served as mayor from 1965 to 1967, then mayor Pro Tem. Early in his political career, Trotter was involved in civil rights issues and advocated for the development of a human relations commission for black business owners in Greensboro. As mayor, he actively supported the development of business owners in the southern part of Greensboro. While a member of the Greensboro City Council, Trotter also served as president of the Greensboro Merchants Association and director of the Chamber of Commerce. He did not run for re-election in 1971, but he remained president of Southside Hardware Company until his death.
In 2019, the overall Department of Parks and Recreation Master Plan was completed and the City of Greensboro once again felt the need to serve its residents. This time, a second senior center was needed, and the master plan determined that one was needed to serve the aging population in the southwest of the city. In 2019, after more than 40 years in operation, the Trotter Recreation Center closed its doors to receive much-needed renovations. The center was scheduled to reopen on March 13, 2020 as the William L. Trotter Active Adult Center, whose mission would be to serve adults 50 and older in the community. The global pandemic unfortunately closed all leisure facilities for six months and canceled all in-person activities for over a year. The William L. Trotter Active Adult Center finally celebrated its grand reopening and ribbon cutting on April 30, 2021 and now proudly offers a variety of programs, activities and services that meet the physical, social, mental and cultural needs of active adults in Greensboro and Guilford County.