There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the multiple activities set to be offered at the Jim Kook Rec Plex in Outlook this summer. The word ‘buzz’, of course, is a shortened way of saying there has been quite a bit of hard and dedicated work behind the scenes to make sure things are going the right way.
At the helm to make sure things are running smoothly is acting recreation director, Megan Anthony, who says that if all goes well and the pandemic begins to calm down, Outlook and area residents can expect a smorgasbord of things to do at the rink in the summer months.
Megan sat down with The Outlook at the rink to show this reporter what’s been going on with the facility to get it ready.
“We’ve created a multi-sport court that accommodates pickleball, volleyball, hockey, basketball, soccer, and we also created a shuffleboard on the pad,” said Megan. “Hopefully this year, depending on the COVID restrictions, we’ll be able to allow people to come in and use our facility more. We have pickleball equipment already that our walking group is very eager to get started with. We’re also looking into doing a basketball camp this summer with Bryan Akre.”
The plan was always to offer something like this, especially this year with people looking for activity options more than ever, but Megan hopes it becomes a recurring theme.
“Honestly, we just wanted to do it this year just to have something else to do, but it’s always been in my mind that this is such a huge, beautiful facility, so let’s utilize the space we have, right?” she said. “We just used any kind of extra paint we had and got the lines all painted out. We’re going to plan to do this every year now.”
Megan is already pricing out equipment and seeing if she can acquire anything from other sources. She’d love to see if things become so popular that perhaps league play is an option to look at in the future.
“We’re going to look into getting our shuffleboard equipment, though that equipment is quite pricey,” she said. “We’re going to have to pick and choose, and we’ve also reached out to the schools to see if they had any old equipment that they aren’t using anymore. In the future, once the pandemic is over, I would LOVE to create leagues. People would register their team, I’d schedule all the games for the evenings, and then a league playoff at the end with a prize. That’s what I hope to do with it in the future.”
There’s been no official decision made on what any of these activities might cost people, but those looking to take part will be smart to get their names in right away.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” she said. “For right now, in my mind, I’d say there’d be a drop-in fee and people will have to pre-register. It’s COVID, so we want to make sure it’s accessible and affordable for everyone.”
A short while ago, Megan hopped on the rec department’s Facebook page and put the word out to everyone who may have had an idea or two surrounding what they’d want to see in the Rec Plex, digging for suggestions and feedback. She was glad to see such ample participation from local residents, and some of the ideas really stuck with her.
“The disc golf course stuck with me; I’d love to get a course outside in the future and we’ve already been looking into that,” she said. “I really liked the beach volleyball idea as I’m a huge volleyball player, so of course I want to do that! I also really liked the rollerblading comment, that was a good one and we’ve actually found a bunch of old rollerblades. There were lots of good ideas!”
Keeping an eye on grant opportunities in order to help with funding any other ideas, Megan says if everything goes right, the Town could start offering activities at the Rec Plex in a little over a month.
“It’s literally only depending on COVID right now,” she said. “Right now, we’re in the middle of looking at basketball nets because we’ll need to have indoor ones, meaning we’ll need holes to put them in so that they’re freestanding. We have a volleyball net and we just need the freestanding post. We could potentially start offering all these services by June, depending on the COVID restrictions.”
Meanwhile, in another part of the facility, the Outlook bowling alley has seen a significant facelift in recent times and is now ready to be used by bowlers of all ages and skill types.
“We did a full renovation inside,” Megan explained. “We painted the walls, and I had three girls come volunteer to do the artwork on the walls, we did the flooring, we got the lights fixed, and we oiled the lanes. The alley is open for booking now, and we ask that you prebook your times just by calling the rec department. We’ve had a few people come in and gotten lots of good feedback so far. It’s $65 an hour, and that includes shoe rental. Very exciting.”
Her job no doubt altered by the pandemic during this past year, Megan says she accepts and welcomes the challenges that have come with these recent times. She’s eager to keep learning and growing in the position and has come to love what she does.
“It’s been really challenging, but I enjoy a challenge when I come to work,” she said. “When you do the same thing all the time, it gets kind of boring, and I like the fact that with every season ending, there’s always a new season starting. I’m a huge pool fan, and I’ve gotten to love the rink side of things up to this last year because I finally got the hang of it all. I’m really excited to learn more and keep growing in this position.”