Rec Center Brings New Leisure Options to Town

It’s been a long wait. But let the fun and games begin.

“We’ve been talking about this for more than 20 years,” says John Bullard of a new $8.4 million recreation center gearing up to open in fall of 2008. “It gives Statesville residents an opportunity to participate in all kinds of new activities.
It will not only offer entertainment but fitness options.”

The 36,000-square-foot facility has a large gymnasium, five multipurpose rooms for day camps and after-school programs, a climbing wall, a fitness area with modern cardiovascular equipment and weight stations, a group exercise room, game rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and administrative offices.

Bullard says the city had been served by smaller, older recreation centers and a pool that was only one-fifth the size of the new pool, which will offer water play areas, zero-depth entry, a lazy river and large slides.
The city recreation and parks department also needed new offices for its seven employees.

“That’s a big-ticket item, and we just weren’t able to do it many years ago,” Bullard says of the long wait for a modern facility.

The city conducted a recreation study in 2003 and recognized the need for a recreation center. A state grant, coupled with city capital reserves, paid for the construction of the facility, which will be tied to greenway trails and the nearby Statesville Soccer Complex on Simonton Road.

There was a lot of support from residents, says Paul Steele, city council member.

“It’s one of the most exciting things done for the citizens of Statesville,” Steele says. “It provides fitness at a low cost with a pool that is five times the size, which helps us offer more aquatic programs.” The facility is vital in an era when recreation and fitness grow in importance.

All residents can use the facility. Fees are charged to use the fitness area and climbing walls.

It was important, Bullard says, that the complex be accessible from the city’s greenway trails with a link to the nearby soccer complex. The facility will replace two older neighborhood recreation centers, Grace Park and Garfield.

“All of us strive for a positive quality of life. Recreation is a quality-of-life issue,” Bullard says. “We are all becoming more fitness conscious, not only our seniors but our youth.”

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