Ask Rip

t-rec-gym-beforeOver the course of the past several months, I have gotten numerous questions about the future of the gymnasium at Tucker Recreation Center. If you’re not familiar, the gym sits by the building’s back entrance and its claim to fame is as a training site for the Magnificent Seven, the gold medal winning 1996 United States women’s gymnastics team.

While we honor that history, a building as old as our Rec Center needs a lot of rehab. This gymnasium is no exception. We used the Parks Master Plan process to identify which improvements needed to be made in all our facilities. As we realized the level of upgrades the gym needed, we began to look at how best to use the space.

Currently, we have no indoor basketball courts anywhere in our parks system. The only option we can provide is the outdoor courts at Peters Park. On a cold winter day, that’s not very enticing. We also heard repeatedly through the Master Plan process that there was a strong desire among the community to have access to pickleball and volleyball courts. As we work within the parameters of our budget, the Rec Center gymnasium proved to be our only option for meeting these recreation needs, as well as much needed space for our existing programs and summer camp.

Last month, we began clearing out the gym to allow our contractors to get to work on installing a new multiuse surface floor. Before we started the process, we met with all stakeholders who currently utilize the space to help them understand exactly what was happening and how it would impact their weekly schedules. Obviously, when there are longstanding activities that are being displaced or disrupted, there will be some disappointment. I can tell you that, for the most part, the news was well-received by those we spoke with.

By the end of the year, we hope to have a major set of improvements that will offer our residents new recreation options in our gymnasium. If you’ll pardon our dust these next few months, I think you’ll like the result.

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