Rec center use hits lofty heights

Chris Beaulieu, Special to The County
5 years ago

It was nearly 13 years ago, back in 2006, that the Presque Isle City Council took the first steps in replacing the beloved William V. Haskell Community Center. The old center had served our community well for 60 years, but its course had been run. Over the 10 years that followed, with determination, inspiration, tremendous generosity and immense hard work by so many, the Sargent Family Community Center finally became a reality.

Having first opened its doors on Halloween day in 2016, the Sargent Family Community Center has now been open for nearly two and a half years. Over that short time, the usage of the new center has surpassed even the loftiest of expectations.

In 2017, we had 37,248 individuals sign in and use the new facility. Without any such data at the old center, an apples-to-apples comparison is not available. Truly comparing the two is likely a moot point anyway. Likening the two facilities is more of an apples-to-apple-tree discussion.  It is safe to assume the new center’s use that first year far exceeded any at the old.

By June of 2018, in an effort to better capture our usage, we installed a counter at the main entrance and eliminated the less effective sign-in process. The results were shocking. For example, in July of 2017 we had 1,032 people sign in. In July of 2018, with the new system, we had 5,764 users. The data for the first five months of 2018 totaled 21,178 people, while the remaining seven months topped 57,000. A total usage for the year at 78,618 people between the two counting systems.

Less than three months into the new year, the center has already had over 25,000 visitors. A number no longer a surprise to us here, as every day we see so many new and returning faces taking advantage of the rewards this facility was intended for. It is truly a special place and one that our community can be proud of.

For questions, comments or to learn more about the Sargent Family Community Center and the Presque Isle Recreation Department, please call 764-2545, email me at, visit us online at or check us out on Facebook.

Chris Beaulieu is director of Presque Isle Recreation & Parks. He can be reached at 764-2545 or via email at