Push for new community recreation center in Kernersville

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KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- The mornings are calm, but the afternoons, evenings and weekends are non-stop at the Kernersville Community Recreation Center.

"We have karate, we have a youth dance class that happens upstairs," Recreation Program Supervisor Cady Ray said. "We just started a STEM-related program where it's basic cooking skills that includes the math and science behind that."

Kernersville Parks and Recreation wants to add even more programming at their East Bodenhamer Street location, but can't.

"Right now at this current space we have so much going on," Ray said. "Unfortunately we turned a lot of stuff away because we are booked out with all of the renewing programs that return."

The Father-Daughter Dance is a recurring program that has gotten so large that it's too big for the Kernersville Community Recreation Center. Instead, the department quickly sold 630 tickets to the dance that's now held at a Kernersville church. Ernie Pages is the parks and recreation director. He said the Father-Daughter Dance isn't the only community event that has outgrown the small recreation center.

"Our local chamber has an annual banquet," Pages said. "We have about 1,000 people. We don't have a facility large enough to host it so they farm it out to other facilities. It would be great to host our own chamber in Kernersville."

Pages also pointed out that the current community recreation center doesn't have enough parking, isn't easily accessible for people with mobility issues and the hallway is often crammed with waiting parents. Pages agrees with people and community groups he has already spoken with, it's time for a new rec center.

"The bottom line has been the same, space," Pages said. "Build it right, build it as big as you can and fill as many needs as you can."

To make sure a new center is an asset, the Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from the rest of the community.

"We want everyone to come out," Ray said. "This is their community, it's for them. We really encourage people to come out and give their input because it matters. It all matters in the planning process of this."

The Parks and Recreation Department is holding a community input session on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the new Kernersville Fire Station at 1180 N.C. 66 in Kernersville. You can share your ideas like how many basketball courts, multipurpose rooms and conference rooms a new center should have. If you can't make the meeting, you have until Feb. 8 to leave your ideas with the Parks and Recreation Department at 125 E. Bodenhamer St.

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