What is now being promoted as a “Rec Center” was first proposed as a “Wellness/Recreation Center.” To me, a wellness center is a clinic, doctor’s office or hospital; whereas, a recreation center denotes a place where physical activity occurs. Supporters focus on the benefits of a rec center, but their yard signs and ballot language mention parks first, then recreation center.
There is no doubt that it would be nice to have such a center. Shouldn’t it be located close to where most people work? A number of privately owned fitness centers have opened and the senior centers have exercise activities. How will these be affected by the rec center?
Questions remain unanswered. Who is going to manage it? What are the dues? How many memberships are required to make it successful? What are the proposed operating hours? How many employees will be needed? Will the employees earn a living wage? What will the wellness center look like? Will daycare be provided? When are improvements to parks scheduled to begin?
Will residents of outlying communities regularly visit the center, or just attend a swim meet, or a soccer game? Voters in certain precincts will need to make a choice between funding their local fire department, school levy, or funding something they may seldom use, such as a rec center.
The focus should be on creating more good-paying jobs. People working 10-12 hours a day and those working low wage jobs aren’t going to frequent a fitness center.