S'ville parks department plans for programs at new center

2013-01-31T19:00:00Z 2013-01-31T22:18:04Z S'ville parks department plans for programs at new centerChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
January 31, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

SCHERERVILLE | Schererville Parks and Recreation officials have spring on their minds.

That's when the new community center that is under construction in Scherwood Park is projected to open.

The exact opening date hasn't been established yet, but it could happen in May, Parks Superintendent John Novacich said.

The department can expand its programming with the new 12,000-square-foot community center. Funds generated from those programs will be used for the building's operating expenses.

Novacich said the first step to prepare for the facility is transitioning existing programs to the building.

"I'm excited, but it's a lot of work," he said of the planning.

Existing parks programs continue to generate revenue, which will be helpful when the new center opens, Novacich said.

Parks officials also will look to add more programs, seminars and activities for multiple age groups.

"Right now everything is in the planning stages," Novacich said.

He said sustainability is among the factors the department considers when exploring possible new programs.

Town Councilman Jerry Tippy said in an email that a report issued when the community center was proposed last year indicates revenue from existing programs "would come far short" of what is needed to operate the building.

He said the report shows that five times the number of current programs would be required to support the facility's operating expenses.

"The Parks Department needs to be far more aggressive in putting a plan together to find new programs and expand existing programs,” Tippy said.

Councilman Tom Schmitt said he believes Schererville's parks officials are "doing a good job" of transferring current programs into the new facility.

Schmitt said many existing parks activities have sold out because there has been a lack of space available to accommodate larger groups.

The new community center provides an opportunity for those activities to grow and generate additional funding.

He also thinks the parks department will generate new activities "that will make the building affordable."

"They will be moving on it fast," Schmitt said.

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