Fraser Valley rec center draws more visitors than anticipated; users recommend changes
January 29, 2010
The suggestion box is earning overtime at the new Grand Park Community Recreation Center in Fraser.
Open just a month, the facility has been seeing an average of 500 visits per day, totaling upwards of 19,000 visits to date, according to parks and recreation Director Scott Ledin of the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District.
That’s more than the district had anticipated, but the numbers may be skewed by the lack of snow, the holidays and the cold, Ledin added. He expects those numbers to drop when the weather warms.
With all the activity, people have had plenty of feedback for rec center staff, management and the board of directors.
“We’ve heard comments on everything from the temperature of the pool to the hours we are open,” Ledin told the board during an update Tuesday.
Board members noted that they’ve gathered a laundry list of items to pass on to staff, ranging from privacy in the women’s bathroom to policies and fees for use of the public meeting room.
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Board chairman Dan O’Connell urged the public to keep the feedback coming.
One concern raised at the meeting came from Regina Quinn, a long time Fraser Valley resident, rec department volunteer and member of the adult basketball league.
Quinn asked the board why the children and adult basketball, volleyball and pickleball leagues are still playing over at Fraser Elementary School.
“The kids are still getting kicked out of practice early so the adults can start, or both the boys and girls are practicing at the same time and having to share courts, or the adults have to start late because the kids are trying to get in as much practice as possible,” she said.
Quinn added that when she approached staff about this she was told that the courts are being reserved for pickup games for people who have passes or pay the entry fee to the rec center.
“Am I the only one that thinks this is outrageous?” she said.
Ledin confirmed that this is currently the scheduling strategy. He said that management was worried about over-programming the courts to the point that people who pay the entry fee and membership fees for the facility couldn’t use it. He also said the district wants to preserve its partnership with the schools.
Quinn did not seem to agree with Ledin’s logic.
“I’ve been supporting this rec district for 10 years through league fees,” Quinn said. “How can our new rec center not actually be for us? We are the families that have kept this rec district open all these years. We have supported the programs they offered.”
While Quinn agreed that the elementary school is more convenient for the kids leagues, the adults should have the opportunity to play in the new facility, she said.
The board directed Ledin to take a closer look at scheduling in the new rec center to take some of the pressure off the leagues playing at the elementary school.
Quinn also asked the board why the rec center started charging an additional $5 on top of the entry fee for use of the gymnastics facility during “open gym” periods.
The board stated that this was a liability issue. After two weeks of barely controlled chaos in the trampoline and foam pit area, management realized that it needed to refine its policies regarding use of the gymnastics area and, specifically, the trampoline.
More staff are being trained to supervise the trampoline and interested users are being evaluated by a certified trampoline coach.
The gymnastics area was built specifically for the gymnastics program, said programs coordinator Michelle Lawrence. People interested in using equipment like uneven bars, vaults, balance beams, rings and even the open floor need to do so under the umbrella of the gymnastic program, with careful instruction and coaching, both for their own protection and the longevity of the equipment, Lawrence explained. Programs are available for all skill levels and ages.
Birthday party and facility rental requests are also flooding in, Ledin said. Bookings became so burdensome within the first weeks that staff has already upgraded to a computer program to help manage scheduling.
All told, the district has sold 2,269 passes off all different types, including punch cards, six month memberships and annual memberships.
The board asked Ledin to breakdown those numbers into categories for future reports.
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.