Fun and frustration |

Fun and frustration

Parks and Rec wants more programs than gym space allows

It’s become common for Pam Brethauer of the Craig Parks and Recreation Department to get a last-minute call from the schools informing her that her reserved gym space is no longer available.

The call means that Brethauer has to call a dozen coaches to tell them their teams have to reschedule practice. There simply is no gym space in Craig, she said.

“We need a rec center so bad it’s not even funny,” Brethauer said.

A year and a half after Craig voters rejected an initiative to build a recreation center in Craig, many people still think the way Brethauer does.

Those who supported the proposed recreation center say they will continue to work to bring one to Craig.

“We’ve been fighting this since my kids were in rec leagues, trying to find gym space,” said Mike Workman. He has three children — two play soccer and one plays basketball.

“Anybody with kids in sports can see we need more gym space,” Workman said.

At Moffat County High School, the boys and girls basketball teams need to split gym time. During the winter, high school teams that can’t schedule time in the high school gym spill over to the Craig Middle School gym, which they share with AAU basketball teams. Craig’s Parks and Recreation programs, including men’s basketball, got the boot from the middle school when there was no room for them.

The Boys & Girls Club of Craig has helped meet some of the community’s recreational needs but not nearly to the same degree that a recreation center would have, City Councilor Tom Gilchrist said. He and his wife were some of the proposed center’s most ardent supporters.

“We still feel a rec center is needed,” Gilchrist said.

Like the Boys & Girls Club, the recreation facility would have provided the community with basketball courts, but the center’s two courts would have been larger than the club’s one.

“If we had three more gyms, then we’d be sitting pretty,” Brethauer said.

The recreation center also would have included a six-lane lap pool, a wading pool with a slide, an indoor shooting range, an elevated walking track, a handball and racquetball court, teen and senior centers, and meeting rooms.

About 25 to 30 organizations — including Moffat County Young Life and the Special Emergency Response Team — use the Boys & Girls Club, program director Rob Winn said.

Weekends generally are open for use, but the club is booked solid Monday through Thursday night, and it’s closed to use by outside groups when the club is in session.

The club has been able to accommodate all groups’ requests, as long as the groups are flexible with their schedules, Winn said.

“As of yet, we haven’t had to turn anyone away, we just had to find another time,” he said.

The club has plans to expand. Winn said they’d like to add an aux-iliary gym that also would function as a cafeteria, and they want to improve outdoor facilities.

That’s what the city needs to focus on now, Gilchrist said.

But it may be about time for the city to again survey its residents about their desire for a recreation center, he said. In two previous surveys, residents indicated they wanted such a facility.

Neither Gilchrist nor Brethauer would commit to a time when recreation center supporters would again try to bring the facility to Craig. But they promised they would try again.

“We haven’t given up totally,” Brethauer said. “We won’t say nope, we’re not doing it again.”

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