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Community Center work continuing

VALLEY — An expansion to Valley Community Center is taking longer than expected, largely due to bad weather, but once the work is complete and the new addition is open, it should allow for more activities, said Valley Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Blount at Wednesday’s meeting of the Valley Kiwanis Club.

“With the recent snow and all the rain we’ve had, the construction has been moving along slowly, but we are now seeing more and more progress every day,” Blount said. “When the new senior center opens, we will be focusing a lot more on activities for seniors. We will have activities such as local trips, games, classes and more. Some activities such as shuffleboard and  table tennis will be taking place in the Community Center.”

In 2018, the Community Center will be hosting both the District Masters Games and the State Games. The State Games will be taking place in October. Seniors from all across the State of Alabama will have the chance to see how nice the new Valley Senior Center will be. Everything in it, from the furniture to the kitchen to the big screen TVs will be new.

The current expansion project also includes the doubling of the Fitness Room. “We will be replacing the old equipment,” Blount said. “The Fitness Room will be much larger, which will provide more room for the free weights and machine weights. Our fitness manager, Lantorrance Rudd, will be available to help people with workouts,” Blount said.

“Those who don’t do anything at the Community Center need to come and see what’s going on there,” Blount added. “We have a new aquatics director, Carly Howell, who swam competitively in college. She’s now taking applications for the Valley Area Swim Team. She’s also starting a Masters Swim Team, for anyone 18 years of age and older. Swimming is one of
the best overall exercises you can do. It’s not easy, but it gets you in good shape.”

Blount said the Community Center’s SilverSneakers program is going strong. 

“We have ten classes per week,” she said. “These classes include seated or standing aerobics using bands, balls and weights. There’s also yoga and a water aerobics class,”

All fitness classes are free with Community Center membership. This includes Boot Camp and Dance2Fit.

Dance2Fit is one of the more popular programs at the Community Center with more than 60 people taking part.

“We are hoping to use the Senior Center for night classes,” Blount said. “This would help us with our space problem. We are busy and not slowing down. We have a lot going on.”

League sports include youth baseball, softball, football, track, soccer and basketball.

“This year we are hosting district meets for swimming and track,” Blount said. “We’ll also be hosting some district youth baseball tournaments. We also have an adult men’s softball league. If there’s enough interest in
women’s softball and dodge ball we are willing to try it.”

Blount said she’d like to target the 18-35 age group.

“We want to have something for those who aren’t into softball,” Blount said. “Maybe kickball is something they’d like to do. If there’s enough interest in it, we’ll try it.”

Pickleball takes place on Tuesday nights at the Community Center. This is a combination of tennis and ping pong.

“Four people play at a time,” Blount explained. “You don’t have to run as much as you do in tennis. The playing court is much smaller than a regular tennis court.”

One of the outdoor courts across Sportsplex Drive has been marked off for pickleball. “Pickleball is very popular with seniors,” Blount said. “Anyone interested in playing can come to the Community Center at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and give it a try.”

On a different topic, Blount said she is pleased that some improvements have been made at the boat landings in Shawmut and Langdale. The access roads have been paved at both sites and some picnic areas have gone in. The Langdale site it open, but some finishing work needs to be done at Shawmut. “It’s in a flood plain, and there’s a lot of standing water there now,” she said. “We will have to wait until it dries out so we can get in the heavy equipment needed to finish the job.”

Blount continued, “There will be more recreation activities going on at the airport site. It’s a beautiful place.”

She added that the Recreation Department is always open to suggestions of new activities.

“Please give us a call if you have an idea. We are open all the time. You have no excuse not come and be a part of it,” she said.