Mayor discusses Rec Center at 3rd coffee event
November 19, 2013
Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers held his third mayor's coffee Saturday morning at the Carroll Recreation Center. City Parks and Recreation director Jack Wardell and Recreation Center director Ben Alford were on hand to answer residents' questions regarding completed renovations and facility goals.
In the past year, administrators have been able to replace about two-thirds of the roof, replace the gym floor, remove hazardous ceiling tiles, and add family change rooms. The center also received several new pieces of cardio-exercise equipment last week and is working to install some new steps in the pool.
However, Wardell said, directors feel they have "a long way to go" to ensure that the facility evolves and stays competitive in its ability to give members access to the latest fitness trends. Every year, the center is able to install between $10,000 and $15,000 of new equipment, but the facility itself has not been seriously renovated since it was built in 1974, despite the expanding scope of its mission.
"We're talking about child obesity, we're trying to talk about keeping our kids active and trying to make sure they have a positive thing to do after school," said Schweers. "We've got a lot of different dynamics that have changed in the community since 1974, and I think that's important for us as citizens to realize."
About five years ago a series of public meetings were held and an $8 million renovation and expansion plan was designed. It includes the addition of a multipurpose room on the northeast corner of the facility and the addition of a gymnasium that would include two basketball courts, an upper-level walking track and a second fitness area on the southwest corner. According to Wardell, the current fitness room, which houses several cardio and weight machines, as well as a rack of free weights, is both the most-used and the smallest part of the center.
Wardell acknowledges that this plan is "aggressive" and cites the multipurpose-room extension, an estimated $1 million of the total plan, as top priority. It could house basketball hoops, indoor soccer and even batting cages during different parts of the year. It could host larger groups and events. It would also be an ideal space for crossfit-style workouts if members indicated a desire to participate in the increasingly popular fitness trend.
The additional space would also allow the Rec Center to host more of its own sports programs, Wardell explained. Currently, the Center runs several of its youth programs through the school gyms because hosting them in the one gymnasium at the center would prevent members from being able to play basketball on their own or with their children.
A bond issue would have to be passed in order to fund the projects. With renewed interest in a football stadium and the public library, Schweers said, he would work hard to coordinate school and city officials to avoid running issues back to back.
But the key thing for people to remember is that the city will soon be debt-free, he said. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been set aside to pay off the current debt will be available, which could enable the city to invest in new projects without increasing taxes.
"It's neat the different ideas and the different potential this facility has," Schweers said. "It's been a great marketing tool for us in Carroll. This is a facility we showcase. People are excited to see that we have a place like this."
In efforts to reach Carroll's broad range of residents, the Recreation Center provides classes in addition to the fitness rooms, gymnasium and pool. The classes include tai chi, yoga, flex and stretch, water aerobics, spinning and zumba sessions. All of this information is available at the center's new website, www.carrollreccenter.com.
After Wardell's brief presentation, Jean Ludwig asked if there was any way the pool could stay open for longer hours in the morning. Some individuals are physically unable to use the weight or cardio machines, but can walk in the pool. With more and more of those clients retiring, they would still like to work out in the morning but not necessarily at 6 a.m., she explained. The Recreation Center's pool is currently open from 6 to 7:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 to 8:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. weekends.
Wardell and Alford explained that the pool is the most expensive part of the Center to staff because a lifeguard must be paid to be on duty, even if no one shows up to swim. So far, there have not been enough requests to make extending the pool hours financially viable.
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