As a member of the Kent community, I have long felt that the city needs it’s own large, serious rec center for the local residents. Cuyahoga Falls has the Natatorium, but Kent has had few options. Kent State University has a great facility but it is priced too high for local residents, which is fair as it is a student facility and not meant to serve the local community. The local Kent Rec Center is a nice option due to no long term commitment, but it is small and limited. Now, Issue 8 will be on the ballot November, 2017, to fund a center that will serve the whole community. I asked park director John Idone to write up a short piece on the issue.
Issue # 8 – Kent Health & Wellness Center Bond Issue Facts
Kent Parks & Recreation has studied the concept of a Health & Wellness Center and surveyed the community with both written and online surveys to listen to what their vision was for the proposed project. This input, along with a review of current program offerings, confirmed that there is a need for a indoor health and wellness center to support senior, athletic, fitness, meeting, wellness and community functions. The desire is to create a place for the whole community, for citizens of all ages that is affordable.
Capital cost to develop the facility is estimated at 17.5M and if approved would be funded through a dedicated 28 year bond issue that will be voted on by the citizens of Kent on November 7th as Issue # 8. Kent residents will receive reduced membership costs. The monthly cost for a $100,000 home is estimated at $7.43 and $5.57 for seniors 65 & over. The Health & Wellness Center will be constructed on the seven acre parcel located across the street from Fred Fuller Park. This site was selected because of its connection to our largest park and for its central location with high visibility.
The proposed space program of 72,000 sf includes gymnasium spaces, an indoor turf field, elevated walking track, fitness equipment areas, fitness classrooms, senior and community rooms, locker rooms, a central gathering area, administrative offices, and allowance of up to 5,000 sf for a health partner to occupy. In addition to the wide scope of programs offered by Kent Parks & Recreation a Senior Center will be incorporated into the building to provide facilities and programs for older adults. The Wellness Center promises to be an intergenerational place for friendship, lifelong learning and fun. It will not only be a place to achieve your health and fitness goals, but in cooperation with our hospital partner a comprehensive wellness program will be offered including physical therapy, diabetes prevention, weight management, smoking cessation, blood pressure screenings, and healthy cooking classes. Seniors who have Silver Sneakers card can access the facility free of charge.
While Kent has a substantial park system, indoor year round activities are lacking due to limited facilities. A Health & Wellness Center is a goal of the long range Master Plan and is the missing piece to provide a comprehensive parks and recreation program for the Kent community. Please support Issue 8.