Board of Aldermen start discussion on future of Crestwood Community Center


Photo by City of Crestwood

The new glass wall installed at the Community Center.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

A special meeting was held Sept. 23 by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen to discuss the dilapidated community center and the prospect of building a new one.

The current community center, at 9245 Whitecliff Park Lane, is in its 43rd year of service “and it shows,” according to City Administrator Kris Simpson. “And it shows” would become a recurring sentiment as Simpson gave a report on the state of the building.

“Aside from things we have done in the past five years, I don’t think there has ever been a substantive renovation of this building and it shows,” Simpson said. “The overall appearance throughout is dreary and dated. Beyond the unattractive, there are deep-seated issues that prevent this building from being salvageable.”

Simpson said the biggest issue that no renovation can fix is the “unintuitive” layout of the building. It features a massive lobby and entrance that takes up an unneeded amount of space. The dance room and racquetball courts cause issues frequently when they are booked at the same time. 

“It confounds me to think of how it got to this point,” Simpson said. 

According to Simpson, the indoor issues run so deep a renovation of the area would essentially be a complete reworking — electrical systems are outdated and the building predates the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it lacks any compliance. He recommends making a new center for a little more money instead of attempting a full renovation.

To build a new community center would require an increase in property taxes, a decision that carries political and community centered ramifications. Simpson said the decision should be made sooner rather than later, and Mayor Grant Mabie said he would like to see final direction chosen by January. 

“I think the community doesn’t want to hear us debating a new community center before we have the mall project squared away,” Mabie said.

Mabie recommended the focus of any changes be directed toward all Crestwood parks at once to help gain public support.

Aldermen will continue to consider the matter at future meetings.