The center’s addition creates a new community hub for Windsor
Upon entering the Community Recreation Center on October 8, the excitement was palpable as the Parks, Recreation & Culture Department unveiled the building’s 40,000-square-foot expansion.
“We kept the new construction pretty hidden,” said Recreation Manager Tara Fotsch. “Even though we were under construction for a year and a half, we had walls up, so people were really seeing it for the first time.”
An estimated 2,000 community members met at the Recreation Center to celebrate the grand opening, filling the center with an energetic buzz. The day showcased the new features with class demonstrations, tours, free use and even a beach ball drop to christen the new indoor Aquatic Center.
“People were stunned,” said Parks, Recreation & Culture Director Eric Lucas. “All of the hard work was worth it when we got to see the joy on people’s faces.”
And hard work it was. Described as a labor of love, the expansion effort began more than five years ago.
“We started talking about an expansion in 2012 with a citizen group,” Fotsch said. “These talks led to a community survey that came back overwhelmingly in favor of an expansion.”
With clear community support, Town Board gave the green light for formal expansion discussions and efforts began in earnest. Town staff and community volunteers worked to research options, obtain community feedback, and garner public support.
“For two years, we went to every concert series, every swimming lesson and every baseball tournament to get the word out,” said Fotsch.
“To listen to our community, we held 16 public feedback sessions and countless citizen group meetings, and launched an ad hoc committee,” Fotsch continued. “In those meetings, we presented four different scenarios and layouts. At the end of the meeting, folks were able to put dots on the scenario they preferred. The majority of the community — 80 percent — chose the design we ended up constructing.”
In 2014, Town Board placed the expansion initiative on the ballot, with a proposal to fund the facility with a 0.75 percent sales tax increase. The measure passed by nearly 58 percent in both counties, and staff wasted no time in moving forward.
“We knew by 8 o’clock on Election Day that it had passed,” Fotsch recalled. “Our architect was already on board with us during the feasibility process, so on Wednesday morning, we wrapped up the contractor Request for Proposal and had it out on the streets by that Friday. Within a month we had the contractor on board.”
Throughout the final design and construction process, staff kept focused on the feedback they received from the community to inform their decisions.
“We kept hearing, time and again, that our community wanted a place with a family atmosphere that offered something for everyone,” said Fotsch. “And, that’s what we accomplished.”
A Community Hub
The expansion brings a host of new amenities and features to the Recreation Center, including an indoor Aquatic Center complete with a lap pool, lazy river, play structure, hot tub and water slide; an elevated running/walking track; designated open gym; fitness room with weight and cardio equipment; a tot lot playground; and childcare area.
Despite all of the upgrades, the Community Recreation Center doesn’t look to replace private gyms or workout facilities.
“We may appear to serve the same market as the private sector, but we don’t. Our niche is truly families and the recreation side of things,” Lucas said. “We’re focused on teaching healthy lifestyle habits and creating a healthy and engaged community.
“We’re about teaching little kids how to swim, helping the unfit teenager run two miles for the first time, soothing the muscles of the physically disabled in our pool, providing a new lounge and Silver Sneakers program for seniors, and getting parents involved who haven’t been active since their kids were born.”
The expanded facility also allows the Parks, Recreation & Culture Department to fulfill the town’s 2016-18 Strategic Plan commitment to provide diverse, desirable recreation and cultural opportunities.
“I’ve seen more diversity in Windsor since we opened. Our new amenities are drawing a more diverse crowd,” said Lucas. “We’re now able to offer activities and options for all levels and abilities.
“The center is truly bringing people together and providing something for everyone.”
For less than $2 a day, a family of four gains unlimited access to our:
- Aquatic Center: Lap pool, lazy river, activity pool, zero-depth entry with play structure, water slide, and hot tub
- Running track and designated open gym
- Locker rooms
- Fitness room with state-of-the-art weight equipment
- Tot lot playground
- Bike tune-up station
- Electric vehicle charging station
- Select aerobic fitness classes
Do you own or run a local company? Lower your healthcare costs and keep your employees happy and healthy by starting a corporate membership program at the Recreation Center.
Join the Community Recreation Center today!
Drop into the Community Recreation Center or call 970-674-3500. For more information, visit our Membership page.