Proposed indoor sports recreation center plans take shape

Drawings and plans for a 420 foot long indoor sports facility were presented by Recreation Director Rob Spagnola at yesterday’s Recreation Committee meeting. Spagnola said that if the facility were to be built, that it would be the “premier” sports facility in the area. Spagnola said he is working with Community and Economic Director Robert von Hasseln to submit a grant application* this this spring which would cover approximately 75% of the cost to build the facility.

Spagnola thanked CT Male Associates for providing the architectural drawings and plans at no charge.

The location of the facility has yet to be agreed on. But one location mentioned by Spagnola as a possibility was the old “P and C” property near the “Five Corners” intersection between Forest Ave and 4th Ave. However, other potential locations are still under consideration.

In addition to serving city residents, Spagnola said there is a clear demand for indoor facilities in the area.

“Just for indoor track events, there’s 1,500 people at Union College every [weekend] for the events they hold…there’s such an overlay, they can’t even keep up with demand. So that’s what our goal is, to bring 1,000 people here every weekend,” said Spagnola.

The draft floor plan, which Spagnola said will still require further revisions, calls for a six-lane indoor track with a 100′ x 70′ artificial turf field in the center which could be used for soccer or other games. The plans also call for three basket ball courts which could also be used as tennis or volleyball courts. A snack bar, computer room, golf simulator, locker rooms and a “multi-purpose” room are also included in the plans.

Mayor Ann Thane thanked Spagnola for his efforts and said, “Really, it’s so forward thinking. It’s ambitious, but we need this kind of vision set, so that this is what we can achieve.”

Spagnola said that while other facilities in the area had “bits and pieces” of what the proposed facility would include, “This would be the premier location anywhere around here…this would be the end all be all of recreation centers in the area.”

*A previous version of this article cited the amount of the grant being applied for as $500,000. This figure was quoted by Spagnola at the meeting as an example of an amount another locality applied for and was not meant to indicate the total cost of the project. 

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.