|T-shirts will go on sale soon as part of a fundraising effort|
Approximately 20 Windham residents attended the second of three scheduled public forums to discuss the planning and development of a Windham Community Center on Monday, December 3 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Chamber Room. The forum also included those who attended remotely on Facebook Live.
The evening began with a welcome by Pat Moody, Chair of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee who introduced members of the design firm working with the recreation committee, Harriman.
Mark Lee, Sharon Ames and Emily Annis, all of Harriman, presented the results accumulated by participants from the first public forum that occurred in September. Among the findings from that first public forum - a gym track, large and small swimming pools, adult wellness area, youth wellness area and a senior space were among the most popular requests. Secondary requests included a ball field, a space for a Headstart program as well as room for the local food pantry. Outside space such as a playground, athletic field, parking lot and a walking path were also among the requests.
Also examined and discussed were the varieties of activities that would take place at the community center with a high concentration of those events to occur during the school year. There would also be opportunities for annual one-time events as well as activities that would require rental space such as birthday parties, etc.
The proposed location for the community center is the Morrell property located near the rotary and Smith Cemetery at the intersection of Routes 302 and 202. This property is owned by the town.
After the brief presentation, participants had an opportunity to look at three concept designs.
Concept Design One is a 20,000 square foot building with two floors that would include all the critical items such as a 2-court gym and indoor track, two locker rooms, pool, lobby and adult fitness area.
The second design is considered the “phase” approach which would entail constructing the center in phases. It would contain a 2-quart gym and indoor track, two locker rooms, a lobby, a 365 square foot kitchen, two multi-purpose rooms, a teen room, a senior room and administrative offices. This center’s design is also 20,000 square feet.
The third all-purpose design is a 60,000 square foot building that would include a three-court gym and indoor track, large pool, small pool, two locker rooms and a 625 square foot kitchen.
All designs would include outdoor space of an athletic field, playground and parking spaces.
The participants then had an opportunity to fill out a form to choose their preferred concept design. The form asked the participants to explain why they chose the design and provide specific details that would help Harriman fine-tune the next concept design that will be presented in March.
Concerns expressed after receiving all pertinent information included entry into the community center property from Route 302, the need for a larger kitchen space as well as the possible hindrance to the Smith Cemetery expansion.
“The land where they are proposing to build the community center was purchased by the town as an expansion to Smith Cemetery,” stated Clarence Wisecap. “I have concerns about this. The community center is a great idea and I’m for it, but what about the cemetery expansion?”
Pat Moody addressed the concern regarding the cemetery expansion. “The planning process takes into consideration that the ‘Morrell Property’ could encompass both a community center facility and space for Smith Cemetery expansion. This collaborative approach would synchronize the planning of both functions and take into account the environmental impact as well as the traffic safety aspect of entering and exiting the facilities.”
Of those present, there was excitement filling the room for the proposed recreational center that would encompass all age levels, providing services for preschool students up to and including senior citizen events. “I was really excited to see so many people rooting for a center. I was also proud to see so many familiar faces that are vested in the community and came out to this planning session,” Moody stated.
Harriman will take in consideration the concerns express as well as the results of the form filled out by participants. A third public forum is scheduled for March and the final presentation of the proposed community center based upon feedback will be available and discussed.
T-shirts were created and worn by Recreation Committee and Town Council members who were present at Monday’s meeting. The t-shirts one part of many fundraising efforts and will be available for sale at the Windham Parks and Recreation Department in the near future.
For more information about each concept design and to obtain a form to or to obtain to choose your preferred community center concept design, contact the Windham Parks and Recreation Department at (207) 892-1905 or .