City Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly, left, Parks Bond Project Manager Rich Deckman, City Councilman Anthony Coleman and Marietta Parks and Recreation Director Rich Buss talk about the renovations to the Custer Park Recreation Center outside of the center in Marietta on Thursday. The renovations are set to open in September.
City Councilman Anthony Coleman looks out over the gymnasium from a second-floor workout room.
MARIETTA — Marietta residents will have a revamped fitness and recreation center this fall, but there may be membership fees to offset some of the operational costs.
The city is moving into the final stages of a $2.5 million renovation of the Custer Park Recreation Center, near the intersection of Kenneth E Marcus Way and North Fairground Street.
It is scheduled to open to the public in September.
The renovated building, which sits on a 3.8-acre tract, will feature a two-story, 27,500-square-foot building and include a range of fitness equipment, said Rich Buss, the city parks director.
The center will include two fitness rooms outfitted with new technology called “fitness on demand,” which will feature drop down screens for video viewing and audio input capabilities for group fitness classes, Buss added.
The center’s renovations, which are funded by 2009 parks bond money, started in spring 2014 and are expected to be completed by June, but will officially be open to the public in September, Buss said.
“That’s when the parking lot should be finished. We’re tying things to the parking lot. The building construction itself will be done before that, but then we’ve got to come in and install our furniture and computer systems and equipment. Then we need to train our folks as well so we can provide optimal customer service for the folks that are going to be paying to use the place.”
The recreation center will
also feature a gymnasium with
two basketball courts, aerobics rooms, padded floors for tumbling, and large transparent windows above the gym and aerobics rooms, so parents can watch their children during recreational activities, Buss added.
The city purchased the property for $1.2 million in 2013 from Turner Chapel AME Church, according to city documents. The church property originally included 152 parking spaces, Buss said, which will be increased to 320 parking spaces once renovations are completely finished.
The city’s park, recreation and tourism committee reviewed pricing options for memberships at its meeting last week for the new fitness facility inside the recreation center, which would help offset the center’s yearly operational costs of $238,000, according to city documents.
The council committee considered two fee options: From $5 to $8 for daily passes for the center’s fitness facilities and from $15 to $45 for monthly passes.
The fees were formulated based on a study conducted by the city, which investigated membership fees of similar facilities, such as the YMCA.
Buss said the facility will offer a combination of amenities similar to local fitness and recreation centers, in addition to the neighboring park’s 8-acre green space. Custer Park features two multipurpose fields, a reservable group pavilion, picnic tables and an outdoor playground.
City Council Member Michelle Cooper Kelly, who chairs the city’s parks, recreation and tourism committee, said the renovations are evidence of how much the area has improved.
“A lot has been done here,” she said. “It had been really blah before. This was one of the earlier projects we focused on. … I love to just come out here and see kids kicking the ball around. That’s structured activity and fun play right there.”
Councilman Anthony Coleman, who represents the area where the park is located, said the center is shaping up nicely and he is excited to see it be opened to the public.
“I think it’s something the residents of the community will be very proud off,” he said. “I think we’re going to have not only people from Marietta utilizing the facility, but also people from outside Marietta is going to take advantage of this nice facility. It’s very important (to have a facility like this),” he said. “You know, it brings a lot of pride to the community. It’s a place where kids can come have clean, wholesome recreation, enjoy their friends. A lot of these centers bring discipline and I think having kids in something structured is very good.”