Rec center work to start

60,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in Truxtun Park in 2009

May 20, 2007|By Dan Lamothe | Dan Lamothe,Sun reporter

The city of Annapolis will break ground today on a 60,000-square-foot recreation center at Truxtun Park, 20 years after it was first recommended in a master plan for the city.

The $12.5 million facility, named for former Mayor Roger "Pip" Moyer, will be accompanied by a $1 million maintenance building and will replace the 15,000 square-foot Annapolis Recreation Center downtown.

"It gives us a single location to get the entire city together for recreation, whether it's indoor basketball or a crafts class," said Ward 6 Alderman Julie Stankivic, whose district includes Truxtun Park.

Final site plans for the building, scheduled to open in 2009, will not be released until the 1 p.m. ceremony at the park.

The building is expected to include a large gymnasium with three basketball courts, two group exercise dance rooms, a fitness center, an above-ground track for walking and jogging, an indoor rock-climbing wall, locker rooms and offices for the Department of Recreation and Parks. Two outdoor basketball courts will be rebuilt.

LeeAnn Plumer, director of recreation and parks, said the building also will include environmentally conscious technology such as a "green" flat roof topped with soil and plants to reduce storm water runoff, low-toxin paints and carpets, natural lighting and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. Geothermal and solar water heating are also possibilities, city officials said.

Not part of the plan, officials said, are a 200-meter indoor track and an expanded arena floor sought by the Annapolis Striders, an area running group.

The Striders pushed to expand the center in 2005, saying the added features would support local lacrosse, soccer and track teams, and be an asset for the city.

Last year, city officials decided the proposal wasn't feasible because it would have boosted the cost of the project by several million dollars and eliminated a baseball diamond.

"It's not something that was ever going to happen," Stankivic said. "Not in that location."

Daniel Masterson, a Naval Academy professor and Striders member, said he is disappointed by the city's decision, but understands it.

"I'm glad [the plan] is done, and I'm glad they named it after Pip," said Masterson, who plans to attend the groundbreaking. "I'm a little bit more forgiving now than I was when I was in the heat of the battle."

Moyer, mayor from 1965 to 1973, is remembered as a strong advocate of youth centers. He is also credited with easing racial tensions in Annapolis after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968,

Plumer said the construction of an expanded recreation center was first recommended in a 1987 master plan for the city's parks and trails. The plan also called for the development Back Creek Nature Park and a trail system connecting parks to schools and neighborhoods.

"Ninety percent of the recommendations in that plan have been completed to date," Plumer said. "This is one of the few that have not."

Stankivic said it isn't clear what will become of the St. Mary's Street recreation center, which was first used as a theater for United Service Organization shows.

City officials probably will begin serious discussions on what to do with the building, including selling or leasing it, within six months, Stankivic said.

"I suspect it will be used as office space, but we'll see," she said.

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