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Board seeks information on center

Can Pulaski County afford an indoor recreation center?
That’s the question county officials hope to answer with a request for proposal (RFP) approved at Monday night’s meeting of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.
The RFP would “find out what it would cost to find out what it (the recreation center) would cost,” according to Anthony Akers.
Akers is head of recreation for the county.
Over the past year, a steering committee appointed by the supervisors has met five times to discuss the potential for an indoor center. Akers provided an update of those meetings Monday night.
In a 2005 survey mailed out to residents along with their water and garbage bills, 65 percent of the respondents indicated they were in favor of an indoor recreation center for the county.
Akers said the steering committee reached a number of conclusions in their discussions.
There was a consensus that the county needs an indoor center to “address issues such as senior adult activities, rising health concerns” and associated costs, “indoor youth and adult activities,” and to enhance local economic development.
The committee found Randolph Park to be the most feasible location for the center since it is centrally located and the land already is owned by the county.
He said the committee also believes the center will address some of the school system’s indoor recreation needs.
Unfortunately, he said, the county would need to commit to most of the cost “due to low potential for major private financial donor support.”
In order to increase the likelihood of outside financial support, Akers suggested the public be made aware of the project through various “campaigns” and “buy-in” opportunities.
Akers indicated he recently was approached by a potential donor who wishes to remain anonymous but who is willing to give the first $50,000 to $100,000 donation.
The recreation director went on to point out the successes of several neighboring recreation centers.
For example, Radford’s center stops taking memberships for non-residents between November and April each year because the center is so busy. He noted that the center indicated a number of Pulaski County residents are members of that facility, particularly seniors who use the indoor walking track. On a typical Saturday, an average of about 1,400 people use the center.
In Christiansburg, their recreation center has 13,000 members and is still growing annually.
Carroll County anticipated 300 members when its center was constructed in 2001, but membership now stands at 2,000.
In Wytheville, a $17 million facility includes a conference center, recreation center and area for child care. Akers said the center draws members regionally and “attendance is constantly growing.”
Salem and Roanoke YMCA’s recently started campaigns to expanded their centers, with membership standing at 8,000 and 9,000 respectively.
Locally, Akers said Randolph Park has been a success locally and regionally for outdoor enthusiasts. He noted that average attendance at the water park is 556 per day, or 48,452 annually, during the summer months. In fact, he said revenues from pool fees, shelter rentals and ball tournaments now account for 60-70 percent of the park’s annual operating budget.
Akers estimated RFP figures could be ready by the first of the year.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com

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Board seeks information on center

Can Pulaski County afford an indoor recreation center?
That’s the question county officials hope to answer with a request for proposal (RFP) approved at Monday night’s meeting of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.
The RFP would “find out what it would cost to find out what it (the recreation center) would cost,” according to Anthony Akers.
Akers is head of recreation for the county.
Over the past year, a steering committee appointed by the supervisors has met five times to discuss the potential for an indoor center. Akers provided an update of those meetings Monday night.
In a 2005 survey mailed out to residents along with their water and garbage bills, 65 percent of the respondents indicated they were in favor of an indoor recreation center for the county.
Akers said the steering committee reached a number of conclusions in their discussions.
There was a consensus that the county needs an indoor center to “address issues such as senior adult activities, rising health concerns” and associated costs, “indoor youth and adult activities,” and to enhance local economic development.
The committee found Randolph Park to be the most feasible location for the center since it is centrally located and the land already is owned by the county.
He said the committee also believes the center will address some of the school system’s indoor recreation needs.
Unfortunately, he said, the county would need to commit to most of the cost “due to low potential for major private financial donor support.”
In order to increase the likelihood of outside financial support, Akers suggested the public be made aware of the project through various “campaigns” and “buy-in” opportunities.
Akers indicated he recently was approached by a potential donor who wishes to remain anonymous but who is willing to give the first $50,000 to $100,000 donation.
The recreation director went on to point out the successes of several neighboring recreation centers.
For example, Radford’s center stops taking memberships for non-residents between November and April each year because the center is so busy. He noted that the center indicated a number of Pulaski County residents are members of that facility, particularly seniors who use the indoor walking track. On a typical Saturday, an average of about 1,400 people use the center.
In Christiansburg, their recreation center has 13,000 members and is still growing annually.
Carroll County anticipated 300 members when its center was constructed in 2001, but membership now stands at 2,000.
In Wytheville, a $17 million facility includes a conference center, recreation center and area for child care. Akers said the center draws members regionally and “attendance is constantly growing.”
Salem and Roanoke YMCA’s recently started campaigns to expanded their centers, with membership standing at 8,000 and 9,000 respectively.
Locally, Akers said Randolph Park has been a success locally and regionally for outdoor enthusiasts. He noted that average attendance at the water park is 556 per day, or 48,452 annually, during the summer months. In fact, he said revenues from pool fees, shelter rentals and ball tournaments now account for 60-70 percent of the park’s annual operating budget.
Akers estimated RFP figures could be ready by the first of the year.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com

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