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Rec center input sought

Suffolk residents will have a chance on Thursday to give their input on the amenities and programs they would like to see at a new recreation center in North Suffolk.

The city is in the design phase of the center, which will be located at 1500 Bennetts Creek Park Road. The city acquired the U.S. Army Reserve Center from the U.S. government in a land swap in exchange for property on Carolina Road, and it plans to make the building into a recreation center.

The session will take place at the Creekside Elementary Joint Use Recreation Center, 1000 Bennetts Creek Park Road. It is adjacent to the new recreation center site.

“We’re looking for citizen input as it relates to what we have thus far,” said Parks and Recreation Director Lakita Watson, who said participants in Thursday’s session will be able to view a partially completed design and give input.

She said the design is “based on some of the trends that are occurring not only in our community but statewide.”

A wellness center with cardio and weight equipment, a multi-purpose room and a computer lab are among some of the considerations for the inside of the building, Watson said.

“We’re also looking at some outdoor components,” she said. “We’re interested in adding a trail. We’d like to be able to add some connectivity between that site to the library, as well as Creekside Elementary School.”

The city also wants to hear from citizens regarding programming, Watson said.

“What types of programs are citizens interested in?” she said. “Health and wellness, prevention, active adults … we want to see what types of things they believe will be beneficial to improve and increase and enhance their quality of life.”

Watson said community input is important when making these types of decisions.

“I don’t believe in the concept, ‘if you build it, they will come.’ It’s gotten a little old,” she said. “I would like to get the input and then build it.”

For those who are unable to come to Thursday’s session but still would like to have input, a survey will be available on the Parks and Recreation website, Watson said.

“We’re looking forward to engaging the public in this meaningful dialogue.”

The meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the gymnasium at the Creekside recreation center, so participants should enter through the rear of the building. Call Michael Kelly at 514-7258 or email him at mkelly@suffolkva.us for more information.