By Rebecca Gaunt
Pickleball proved to be the big draw for adults at the new Kennesaw recreation center open house event Saturday, while kids gravitated to the free mini basketballs and volleyballs available in the lobby.
The opportunity to check out the 42,000-square-foot building drew a sizable crowd to the $10.4 million facility. The highly-anticipated addition to the city was paid for with Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds. It’s located in Adams Park at 2737 Watts Dr., next to the Ben Robertson Community Center.
It contains three multi-use basketball courts, a walking track, two fitness rooms, a gymnastics center and office space. Programs include basketball, volleyball, pickleball and exercise classes. There is a $5 annual fee to access the facilities, though classes and sports leagues can incur a separate cost.
Mychal Lewis, the athletic and recreation coordinator, said the open house and upcoming week are a soft opening so she can figure out how to best meet the public’s needs.
“We do have a general schedule of pickleball and basketball because that’s what everybody wants…but we’re even going to have open play ping pong,” she said.
One of the requests she wants to fulfill is offering evening pickleball since many places only offer it in the morning, to the disappointment of pickleball players who work regular hours.
The walking track was not accessible during the open house due to a delayed elevator inspection, but the Courier was allowed to take photos. The track is expected to open as soon as that occurs.
The gymnastics center had a setback of its own that is delaying the popular program from relocating into its new home. That particular portion was built over a spring and efforts to prevent water leakage through the floor are still going. Staff hopes it will be open by June at the latest.
Dipti Mody set up an informational table to put out the word on the traditional and prenatal yoga classes she teaches.
“Yoga itself is all about connecting self with mind, body and spirit,” she said.
Classes will incur a separate cost from the $5 access fee. Mody’s will cost $10 per class, though once she is able to gauge the level of interest, she hopes to offer monthly packages.
Tai Chi and Qigong instructor Sachi Hirata was also on-site to do a demonstration and give out information.
Thirteen-year-old Hudson Nichols told the Courier he came out for the book swap.
“My sister is starting gymnastics here, which I think is pretty cool,” he said when asked what excites him the most about the center. He is also a fan of pickleball and basketball.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.