TPR wants community input on new rec center

Jan. 17, 2014 @ 02:18 PM

Thomasville Parks and Recreation has big plans for Chair City teenagers.
When North State Communications last year donated its former building at 16 Trade St., Thomasville Parks and Recreation (TPR)  staff envisioned a new recreation center aimed at giving Chair City teens an outlet of their own. As plans for the center move forward, Parks and Rec administrators want input from the public on how to ensure its success.
A community meeting will be held 6:30 p.m.Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Ballpark Road Recreation Center. Staff will present ideas and are eager to hear what the community thinks as well.
“We're open for any suggestions,” said Vickie McIver, TPR director. “We're having this meeting to get people to come out and give their suggestions on what they would like see happen with this building. We have ideas, but we want to hear from the community.”
Once the renovation is complete, McIver sees the new rec center as a place where local teenagers get involved in a variety of activities to improve their lives. The new center also will offer activities for senior citizens, adults and the special population.
“All kids aren't involved in sports, so we want to give others an avenue to come out here and get involved in other things,” McIver said. “We want to get them on the right track for college, do community service work, go on college tours and just try to put a positive impact on a teen's life. Some kids don't have role models or positive ideas and attitudes. We want to get them involved.”
Renovating the facility will cost approximately $244,000, but McIver said TPR currently is trying to acquire a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant (PARTF) grant that would cover half of the expenses. There are three other recreation centers – Strickland Center, Ballpark Road and Central Office – in Thomasville, but none focus on the teenage demographic. TPR recently created the Thomasville Area Teen Council, and the new facility could serve at a meeting place for its members, McIver said. The new center will be staffed and young people who want to participate will have to fill out an application and show picture identification.
“This won't be a hangout,” said McIver. “We will have games and activities they can do, maybe do movies, but also bring in an educational component as well. We're trying to find ways to reach out and cover all ages.”
TPR staff visited similar facilities in Reidsville and Roxsboro, but are seeking the community's input in an effort to meet as many needs as possible.
“That's the whole goal of it,” said Cory Tobin, TPR programs director. “The hopes for this building are really whatever the community wants, but also somewhere the youth can come and be in a safe environment. We want to give them a voice so we can serve what they need.”
Teen Council member Abigail Winters hopes the community will support the idea. She added that such a facility could be used to influence teens “to do good in the community.”
For more information, call McIver at 475-4281.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.