West U Doesn't Want Its Rec Center To Attract Outsiders, Maybe

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West University is building a new recreation center on Bellaire Boulevard. And according to this West U Examiner article, the crappy economy sure is working out for those can't-catch-a-break West U residents, bringing in plenty of low construction bids.

Turns out, though, that the new rec center won't have basketball courts.

"We want something that is for our residents, not something that will compete with nearby fitness centers or the Weekley YMCA, or to merely attract what residents outside West University want," Park and Recreation Board Chairman Russ Schulze said at a recent meeting, according to the Examiner.

Which Hair Balls thought sounded a little...funny. So we called Schulze and asked him what he meant by "residents outside West University." Did he mean blacks?

"I don't know where you get that," he said. "No. No, no, no, no. I don't remember referring to residents outside West U. Our parks are open to anyone that wants to pay the non-resident fee. The system is designed for West U. citizens, but anybody who wants to come in and use our facilities is welcome."

(For the record, that's five "nos," so he must really mean it.)

As for the lack of basketball court at the new facility, he said the trend for recreation centers, including the YMCA, is moving away from gymnasiums. "A lot of the needs for basketball courts in the community are being filled by the churches," he said.

Schulze also said that the gymnasium that was part of plans that went up for bond election in 2006 was a "deterrent" -- "the primary reason was the cost," he says -- and that anyway, there's more of a demand for exercise classes and swimming classes.

The board's considering adding a covered pavilion to the new rec center somewhere down the road. When, though? "There's no timeframe set for it."

-- Cathy Matusow

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