Smith speaks to Rotary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Dan Smith, the director of the Troy Recreation Department, spoke to the Troy Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon and stressed the need for a multi-purpose community recreation center.

Describing the proposed center as &uot;an investment in our community and youth,&uot; Smith outlined a vision of a building at the Troy Sportsplex that would house a 25-yard indoor pool, two basketball courts and several other amenities. Initial projected costs for the project run between $4-5.5 million, with an annual upkeep of approximately $250,000 per year.

Smith began his presentation by citing some entries from a &uot;mayor for a day&uot; contest that polled area seventh-graders on what changes they would make to Troy if elected mayor. Several of the respondents said they would like to have a community center where young people could spend time and engage in leisure activities.

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&uot;It's my job to provide the services being requested by citizens in this city,&uot; Smith said. &uot;Everybody does not play baseball or softball.&uot;

But Smith said seventh-grade aspiring politicians were not the only community residents who would benefit from the construction of such a facility. He cited therapeutic uses of the pool for elderly residents of Troy and the vast array of possibilities provided by a multi-use room that could be rented out.

He also said participants in gymnastics, the second-largest recreational program the city offers, would be able to take advantage of a new place for workouts.

&uot;We will continue to use the Elm Street and Academy Street gyms, but those facilities are getting old,&uot; he said. &uot;Elm Street was built in the 1940s and the Academy Street gym was built in the 1960s. They have some miles on them.&uot;

Smith emphasized that the facility, though located apart from the city's center, would be accessible to all residents of Troy and any fees for membership or use would be kept to a minimum.

&uot;The Mayor and City Council have been very supportive of the philosophy of keeping this affordable,&uot; Smith said, stressing accessibility of the facility as a critical component of the project.

Smith said the center, which will also house the recreation department's offices, would bring revenue to the city but would not be expected to be a profitable enterprise. He said the function of the recreation department was to provide needed services to the city, not to generate funds for municipal coffers.

He also attempted to preempt concerns that have arisen that the facility would erode the clientele of local privately-owned health and fitness enterprises.

&uot;This will absolutely not compete with local health and fitness centers,&uot; he said. &uot;We are not going to have any stationary bikes, treadmills or free weights.&uot;

In other business, the Rotary Club continued to prepare for their annual pancake dinner, which will be held Feb. 27 at First Baptist Church and continued to organize their PolioPlus 5K run and 1 mile fun walk.

Stephen Stetson can be reached at stephen.stetson