Public rec center won't compete with businesses

In regards to a letter by Mr. Winchell, owner of Eagle Fitness Center, printed in the Sunday Nevada Appeal, it is not the city's intent through the development of our proposed indoor recreation center to directly compete with local private-sector fitness clubs.

I appreciate the investment that Mr. and Mrs. Winchell have made into our community, and I applaud their efforts in making Eagle Fitness a first-rate fitness club. But I think there are significant differences between his business and the multi-use recreation, education, health and wellness facility planned by both Western Nevada Community College and Carson City Parks and Recreation.

Private fitness centers generally provide "higher-end," more individualized services than provided by public facilities. Our recreation center will provide a broad spectrum of recreation and educational opportunities with a special emphasis on families and youth, whom we hope will make fitness a habit and a lifestyle.

But fitness is just one piece of the comprehensive services that the facility will provide for all ages - youth through seniors. The recreation center will offer badly needed space for sport leagues, a leisure pool, drop-in recreation, leisure programs and needed educational opportunities for WNCC.

In communities such as Salt Lake City, St. Louis and Denver, there exist both beautiful publicly funded recreation centers and a healthy private fitness industry. Many times, public facilities become a "gateway" to the private clubs for those individuals who desire "higher-end" services or for empty nesters who may not want to use a facility that receives heavy use from youth.

Public recreation centers often create a broad fitness market, which benefits the private clubs. Many times, there are lucrative opportunities for public recreation centers and private clubs to partner together on fitness and health programs. Some public recreation centers host health or fitness fairs and allow private facilities to attend and participate. Collaborative fitness and exercise programs are also common.

In 1996, I, along with other citizens, was part of an effort that spearheaded the successful Question 18 ballot initiative that has provided long-term funding for parks and recreation facilities and improvements through our sales tax collections. During that time, a "multi-use" gym was considered an important goal and was listed on the ballot.

In 2006, the city completed a "Parks and Recreation Master Plan," which identified indoor recreation facilities and opportunities as one of our greatest recreation needs by uses such as volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer and other indoor programs. A public opinion poll conducted in association with the master plan found that 57 percent of the respondents were "not at all satisfied" with the availability of indoor recreation opportunities. Our leisure pool, an aquatic feature complete with a "lazy river," fountains and other fun amenities that are not currently offered in Carson City, will provide for great family entertainment.

I believe that the public and private sectors play a vital role in providing for the overall health and wellness of our community. And in doing so both can and will prosper. I know that both staff and myself are willing to work toward this end. The proposed indoor recreation facility should prove to be a "win-win" situation for the whole community while improving our quality of life.

• Pete Livermore is a Carson City supervisor.


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