By Jenny Johnson – In a 4-2 vote Wayne City Council decided to close the REC and ice arena at the Wayne Community Center. The ice arena will close effective May 5 and the Patrick J. Norton Recreation and Exercise Club will close effective June 30.
Other closings include the WABC building on Sims and Wayne Road effective July 31 and the Senior Dept. at the Wayne Community Center effective June 30. There will also be limited outdoor recreation opportunities and two part time employees will be laid off.
This was one of four proposals presented to council to help cut the more than $1 million from the current general fund budget. The deficit is expected to be around $3 million for 2014-15.
The banquet rooms, Aquatic Area and Youth Assistance program will remain open at the Wayne Community Center and the following programs will remain in place- SilverSneaker, summer daycamp, adult softball, Marshmallow Drop/Bunny Breakfast, Cup of Christmas Tea, Santa Breakfast, tennis, ballfield rentals, Adopt-A-Park, skate/bike park, pavilion rentals and Meals on Wheels.
Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Adams said some of the exercise equipment from the REC will be relocated to the viewing area of the aquatic area. By combining all of the exercise equipment to one location there will be less cleaning and only one check in point for members.
“There would be four treadmills and not seven. I think there would be some shock value at first,” said Adams.
This plan will close about 58% of the community center.
No decisions have been made about the following programs- dance, gymnastics, youth theater, Kids Zone, Young Champions Cheer, Young Champions Self-Defense, therapeutic recreation, Lil’ Dragons, Redford Karate, Jazzercise, Isshiryu Karate, slow flow yoga, Hatha Yoga, belly dancing, Tai Chi, Hustle fitness, Zumba, Daddy-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Night and Winterfest.
“There are some private entities interested in the ice arena and community center” Adams said. HYPE Athletics made a presentation at the April 1 council meeting. They submitted a Letter of Intent to the council to review and evaluate all available operations for taking over the management and operations of the Wayne Community Center.
They will present the comprehensive plan to the city council at their May 6 meeting.
Mayor Al Haidous said, “We shouldn’t give up on the community center. See if we can keep it open at no cost to the general fund.”
“We owe it to ourselves to try and save the community center,” Haidous said. “As you know we are facing serious deficit. I hope working together we can go forward without doing permanent damage.”