Vision 2020 putting emphasis on fitnessPublished 11:14am Thursday, July 11, 2013
Rec Center could encompass several entities
Vision 2020 organizers are making an emphasis on fitness in the community with a new community recreation center, which would incorporate several entities in one or more buildings by the year 2020.
The new recreation center would theoretically replace the existing YMCA, and the talks have YMCA Executive Director Tedd Maxfield and others excited.
“We are proceeding with the assumption that the YMCA will be a strong tenant in the new recreation center,” Maxfield said last month.
According to Laura Helle, Vision 2020’s director of creative vision, a new recreation center would contain the YMCA and other services, and costs would be split between the Y and entities like the city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
“We expect the new recreation center would be a Y-plus,” Helle said.
A few weeks ago, Vision 2020 leaders told the Mower County officials that they were likely going to build a new facility. Work toward a new recreation center is progressing, as Vision 2020 is currently working on a $54,000 study funded by the Hormel Foundation, the YMCA, the city of Austin and the Blandin Foundation to assess fitness and recreation needs in the city. Vision 2020 organizers are expecting the results of that survey, which sounded out community leaders, senior citizens and families of color, by the end of the month.
Maxfield said they’re currently land-locked in the current YMCA building, which was first built in the 1964 with the super-gym and other pieces added on over the years.
“We’re busting at the seams just across the board,” Maxfield said.
The YMCA doesn’t have currently have the space for program needs, as it’s lacking for space in the gym, the pool, the wellness center and almost everywhere, according to Maxfield.
“We just pretty much across the board need space that’s bigger,” he said.
Parts of the building are beginning to show their age and that they were built under outdated intentions. For example. Maxfield said there’s little space in the gym, and they’d like to have more space between the out-of-bounds line and the walls for people to sit or add bleachers — things that weren’t needed when it was built in 1964.
Maxfield would also like to see a larger wellness center that could serve more people. One plan would add more private workout space, so people who haven’t worked out in a long time don’t have to use the main wellness center. Another plan is to add special equipment for people with disabilities.
“To have all of the equipment we need, we just don’t have space,” Maxfield said.
He also said the swimming and gymnastics programs could use more space.
The Y also serves many children in after school childcare programs, and Maxfield said they currently take up much of the building. They’d like to add more space for other youth to be able to play things like pick-up basketball games and keep them separate from the after school kids.
Maxfield said he’s excited by the prospect of partnering with Vision 2020 and other organizations if the new venture indeed goes forward.
“I don’t know what the final project will look like, but it will help the Y serve the community better than we do now,” he said, adding that it will also help other groups better serve the community, too.
For Y employees and members, Maxfield said this is a positive time.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.
The new facility would cost about $25 million, with construction targeted for 2014 to 2016. Steering committee member Geoff Baker describing it as a dramatic expansion of Austin’s health and fitness services. The facility could also add 20 to 30 jobs. It would likely be run by existing groups, possibly the city and YMCA.