Think beyond bricks and mortar -- a recreation center can be a facility that joins community members of all ages and improves relationships for all

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To the Editor:

Soon your community will be voting on whether to fund a new recreation center. Many of you have already made your decision; some of you are yet undecided, but all of you, please read on.

This project is not just about building a facility with spaces for swimming, jogging, sports events, or aerobic classes for recreation and fitness enthusiasts. Think beyond the bricks and mortar and the obvious user. This recreation center is about connecting with your neighbors, be it near or far.

Craig's proposed recreation center can be a dynamic and evolving community gathering place; a focal point for the community. It will be for lifelong as well as new residents, college students, families, singles, teenagers, married couples, adults, "empty nesters," and the 85 year-old plus crowd. It will cut across gender, income brackets, and ethnic or racial backgrounds. Through the participants, staff, and volunteers, the values, traditions, and culture of the community will be woven into the soul of this center. As a source of great community pride as well as widespread recreational opportunity, this "central place" will give people another reason to participate in their community. Here take a closer look:

Inside, you can see a smiling grandmother swimming with her 2 year-old grandson, a dad cheering during his daughter's evening basketball game, a teenager and a 75 year-old man sharing skills and knowledge at a computer screen, and "empty-nesters" sprinting on the track in the early morning. Inside, there are bouncing children anxious to find their activity, friends stopping to chat over juice after a fitness class, and an older man strolling down a corridor on his way to watch the youngsters play basketball. Inside, a classroom is filled with people from different groups collaborating on a community service project. And, paid staff and instructors, along with community volunteers are leading activities, greeting participants, and making plans for the next season. Inside, you will experience a sense of community.

A recreation center is a hub of diverse recreation and fitness activities for all, filled with opportunities for exploration and discovery, socialization, and community involvement. Those who participate will say that a recreation center is a "community experience" that draws them back -- again, and again. Thus, the real value of Craig's proposed recreation center cannot be measured in the facility's cost, but within its' priceless enrichment of community. Don't miss out on this opportunity to participate in the Craig community.

Sincerely,

Jane Vujovich

Age Connection Group, St. Paul, Minn., Consultant ' Multigenerational

Recreation Centers

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