Center set to debut this weekend
By Kevin Kelley
Published Jan. 9, 2008
must have stuffed a lot of Christmas stockings with gift certificates
for memberships at the city’s new $19 million recreation center.
Before Christmas, rec center memberships numbered
But as of Friday, 916 memberships were sold, city
recreation department officials said. The goal for the first year
is to sell between 3,500 and 4,000 memberships.
“We’ve actually sold a lot of them for Christmas,”
said Tim Pinchek, the city’s recreation director.
Residents who purchase memberships before April 1
will get 15 months of membership for the price of 12, Pinchek said.
Annual membership fees for individual residents will
be $100. A family of four can join for $275. High school students
will be charged $75. Those 60 and older can join for $75.
An individual whose employer is located in the city,
and who thus pays city income tax, can join for $200. Family corporate
rates begin at $375 for a family of four.
Pinchek said residents are starting to come and visit
the Gemini Center, located at 21225 Lorain Road, now that they see
it’s built and they see the electronic sign in front in operation.
Jack Nairus purchased a membership at the center Friday
so he can do his daily workout and use the center’s 1/12th mile
“I like to walk outside during the summer but not
in the winter,” said Nairus, who lives less than a block away from
the Gemini Center.
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the center
takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday. Public tours of the facility will
be given from noon to 2 p.m.
Saturday evening, from 7 p.m. to midnight, the Gemini
Center will host a gala celebrating the center’s opening. Tickets
for the adult-only event, which are sold out, cost $25.
The center officially opens to members at noon Sunday.
The center’s community rooms, which have kitchen facilities
and can seat 250, have already been booked for 20 events, including
three wedding receptions. Fairview High School and St. Joseph Academy
will hold their after-prom events there this spring.
The original plan was for the center to open between
Christmas and Dec. 31, city officials said. However, last-minute
odds-and-end-type issues prevented the center from opening by year’s
“The delivery guys are still delivering stuff,” Pinchek
And aerobics classes scheduled for this week had to
be delayed one week.
“The week of the 14th is when everything gets going,”
said Kim O’Farrell, the city’s deputy director of recreation.
Participants in the rec program’s basketball league
have been allowed to use the facility’s basketball courts for practice
since Jan. 2. And the freshmen boys basketball team from Fairview
High School began using the courts for practice Monday.
Pinchek said waiting for the center to open has been
the hardest part.
“This has been four years of my life,” Pinchek said
of the planning for this month’s opening.
The recreation department has grown from four full-time
employees last year to 10 this year, Pinchek said. Many have been
putting in nine and 10-hour days in recent weeks in preparation
for the center’s opening.
The center’s roughly 50 cardio exercise units are
awaiting residents ready to get fit, and its 20 free weights are
ready for those who want to pump up.
But there’s still no official word on when the center’s
two pools will open.
The city fired its Michigan-based pool contractor
when it fell far behind schedule. The bonding company is expected
to select a new contractor to finish the pool this week, Pinchek
The February 2005 vote to pass a .5 percent income
tax increase to build the city’s recreation center passed by only