Much more than a ‘rec center’

11 years ago

Much more than a ‘rec center’

IN THE CITY

by Chris Beaulieu

    An exciting and wonderful opportunity is upon Presque Isle and its citizens, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

An opportunity that will help move Presque Isle from a good community to a great one. An opportunity that will improve the lives of all residents from toddlers to senior citizens. The opportunity I am referring to is the new community center project.
    The current recreation center has served our community well for over 70 years. The facility’s age and condition alone are reasons enough to see its replacement. However, it is the size of the facility and the space it provides that greatly limits programming opportunities.
    The William V. Haskell Center is a one-program facility. Whether it’s a program for toddlers, teens or seniors, only one event can take place at a time. This forces staff to pick and choose which segment of our community will benefit most from each program offered. Youth have been the main focus of our programs for many, many years. However, over half of our residents are adults, who are vastly underserved.
    This new community center will be more then just a rec center. It will be a multi-use facility, a place where every citizen, regardless of age, social standing or economic status can go and add value to their lives. Your teenager can socialize with their friends at the Teen Center. Your younger child can take a karate class. Grammy can play cribbage in the Senior Center, while Dad walks the track and Mom and the little one take a parent/toddler class. A true community center for all of the community.
    This facility and the quality programming it will provide will have a positive impact on the entire community, whether it be physical, social or economic. Physical activities encourage healthy lifestyles, combat obesity, reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease and stress-related illnesses, all while helping to reduce health care costs. After-school programs provide a safe place for youth to gather and reduce at-risk behavior and juvenile crime. A variety of programming and events promote diversity and encourage positive social interaction, improving an individual’s confidence and self esteem. Economically, this facility improves the community’s desirability for new families and business development; all while increasing foot traffic in the downtown.
    Wonderful opportunities like this are rare and do not come along often for communities like ours. Now is the time to invest in our future, commit to community and believe in Presque Isle.
    For questions, to share your thoughts and/or to learn more about this project, please contact me at 764-2545 or e-mail at cbeaulieu@presqueisleme.us or go to our project website, www.picommunitycenter.com.
    Chris Beaulieu is director of Presque Isle Recreation & Parks.