Excitement builds over new recreation center

Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall shows off the new plans for Pelham's Recreation Center scheduled to open near the new Pelham Park Middle School. (Contributed)

Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall shows off the new plans for Pelham’s Recreation Center scheduled to open near the new Pelham Park Middle School. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Hey, Kevin is underneath the building,” Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall said when I went by to visit him recently.

“You should let him out Billy,” I joked.

“The air vent stopped working and it was so steamin’ in here. Kevin came by on his way home, I told him, and he crawled up under there,” Crandall said. “Hey Kev, it’s working now!”

“I am holding it together Billy,” Pelham employee Kevin Tolbert said. “The hose fell away from the vent. Give me a minute and I’ll have it back together.”

Tolbert soon appeared after patching the problem—and I was thrilled to hear how well his wife is doing in her teaching career. Tolbert’s repair solved the problem; however, Crandall and the Pelham Park staff will soon have a new location to call home. Hopefully, when Pelham Park Middle School opens in the fall of 2017, a new recreation center will be open also.

“We’ll be within walking distance of the school,” Crandall said. “We’re so excited about the services we will be able to offer with this new facility. People are especially excited about the dog park. That is going to be awesome.”

Crandall went on to share his excitement about the new possibilities for the facility, the people he has been working with and the work he has been doing. Evidently, planning and completing a project this large requires drawing on every resource possible.

“We’re working on an $80,000 grant to assist with some of the facilities,” said Crandall. “There are some private corporations that are willing to help if you do the paperwork.”

“Right now, Pelham Park is really a sports complex; however, the addition of our new recreation center will enable us to serve as a true park providing services such as green spaces, walking trails and a dog park. With our new facility, we’ll be able to offer a rain-out facility and recreational and exercise classes. We’ll have two gyms and a dance room,” said Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall. “We’ll be able to serve more people.”