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Summit — Letters to the Editor

New Gym Answer to Community Center Space, Safety Issues

Friday, April 11, 2014 • 3:17pm

As a past and current (and I hope future) regular user of the Community Center, I wanted to express my strong support for the expansions and renovations detailed in the $5.7 million proposal.

I currently teach bridge every Monday morning to a large group of Summit seniors (and many other "almost" seniors).  It's a drop-in arrangement, so on any given day, I will only have 24 to 28 people attend the classes, but there are 56 people on my email list, and they're from all parts of the town.
 
The center is used by a wide swath of the community.  Because the Benson Room was being used by a canasta group, in the beginning I held the classes in the gym.  Although the acoustics were terrible, this was tolerable until the temperature dropped below 40 degrees.  After that, it was unbearable.  Space heaters had little effect, and everyone kept their coats on to play.  Needless to say, after one or two experiences like that, there was very poor attendance on cold days. 
 
Having little choice, we now share the Benson Room with the other group.  Most days I have six or seven tables, and it's a tight fit but still a vast improvement over the freezing cold gym.  However, I'm sure the canasta ladies are less than thrilled when they have to listen to the sound of my voice instructing in bridge while they're trying to concentrate on their game.  We definitely need more space for seniors. 

I touched on the deficiencies of the gymnasium on a comfort level, but the safety issues are an even greater concern, and should be obvious to anyone who has tried to use the space.  The end walls are much too close to the backboards.  The radiators stick out from the walls and also present a danger to the players.  There is no room for spectators, and the gym is undersized for even youth games.  
 
I can't even imagine what it must be like with full grown players trying to play a reasonable game with a wall a few feet from the basket.  My son and his friends use the Community Center gym in the winter, because it is the only drop-in option available to them, but it's far from a good option.  
 
Building a safe, reasonably sized gym would solve both problems.  The old gym (with HVAC and window renovations) could now be usable space for seniors, and the new gym would address the current safety concerns.
 
I urge everyone to contact your councilperson to express your support for this project.   And it would be even better if you could join us at the April 15th council meeting.
 
Debbie Crisfield
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