Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Community Center provides model for re-use

June 7, 2007

This past weekend, the De Soto Community Center once again proved its value to the community and its versatility by rescuing the De Soto Relay For Life from its second wash out in three years.

As we have pointed out in the past, the Community Center has became such a focal point of life in De Soto that it is difficult to comprehend it has been available in its present incarnation for less than a decade. And it performs this function so well despite being designed for a far different role.

Given a fresh piece paper and couple million dollars in the budget, designers probably could come up with a more functional multi-use center. They could find a better use of space than the abundant but now mostly unused bleacher seating and probably won't have included nearly as many steps to challenge the less mobile amongst us. But it is doubtful they would have ended with a building that serves as many from the older De Soto residents who find a good meal and companionship in the Senior Center or exercise with daily laps around the gym, to young pre-schoolers learning their first dance steps in the now available dance studio, to the adults who play pickup basketball games in the gym, practice yoga in the studio or listen to music being performed once a month on the stage.

Despite a busy schedule that will find some activity at the center nearly every day and evening, there is room for expansion, including a public exercise room with workout equipment, which De Soto Parks and Recreation director Jay Garvin said he would like to locate in the building.

With City Hall attached to the east and the new pool behind it, complex that includes the Community Center has become what those who acquired and nourished the property had hoped -- the civic and recreational heart of De Soto. It is a model of how foresight, planning and investment can rejuvenate a outdated property.

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