By Travis Mounts
A large crowd turned out for last Thursday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening at the new Haysville Activity Center.
The new HAC began operations a month ago, but last week’s event served as both a celebration of the facility’s completion and a chance to show off the facility for potential customers and residents who paid for the facility with a portion of a sales tax approved in 2015.
When Georgie Carter joined the Haysville Recreation Department 17 years ago, city leaders thought they were 5-7 years away from a new facility.
Carter, the city’s recreation director, said the wait was worth it.
“I’m beyond excited about how many people are here today,” she said at the open house. “It’s an awesome facility for this size of town.”
She said the city has seen about 85 new HAC memberships since the facility opened in June. That’s about 120 new members.
“We’ve definitely been busier,” she said.
At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Bruce Armstrong led a delegation that included city council members and city staff, leaders of community organizations, and State Sen. Ken Kerschen. Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell toured the facility.
“I’m elated with the turnout in town and from people who wanted to view this facility. It’s their facility,” Armstrong said. “Compared to what we had before, it’s night and day.”
City leaders said the location is a major upgrade. The former HAC building – an old bowling alley – was located near the busy intersection of Grand Avenue and Broadway. That location raised concerns for city leaders and Haysville residents because of the number of young people who would walk or bike their. Fears of an accident came true in May 2015 when an 11-year-old was struck by a car following a youth dance. He was crossing Grand Ave. to his ride at the convenience store across the street. The driver of the vehicle was cited for driving under the influence.
“This is safe to come to,” Armstrong said. The new HAC is located at 523 Sarah Lane, across the street and just east of Riggs Park. The area is primarily residential.
Armstrong said the new building leaves a positive first impression.
“Going onto the weight and cardio room, it’s really impressive,” he said, noting the space and the high ceilings. “I don’t thing people realize the equipment we have.”
He said he expects the facility’s rental room will be busy.
Mary Talbert was among the visitors last Thursday.
“It’s pretty nice to visit. It will be nice to come down in the winter,” she said. She was a former HAC member, but has not been recently. When asked if the new facility would get her to sign up again, she said, “It might.”
Talbert said she was impressed with the rental room and the exercise equipment.
“That impressed me,” she said.
Carter said it’s hard to tell what features have been the most popular so far. She said two of the HAC’s amenities – the basketball courts and the walking track – are major upgrades over the old building.
“The walking track has a nice view, and there are no balls coming at you,” she said. At the old building, the track went around the basketball courts. That left walkers and joggers on constant guard for stray basketball balls. The new track is elevated above the courts.
The basketball courts offer more space, too, and have been very popular since the new building’s opening, Carter said.
Membership rates ranges from $60 for three months to $140 for one year for a single person, and for a family, from $115 for three months to $260 for a year. Members do not need to be residents of Haysville. For more information, call 316-529-5922, or visit www.haysville-ks.com/recreation.