Chapel Hill: Sports

Recreation: Rec departments have their own wish lists

The YMCA on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the Orange County Sportsplex in Hillsborough both are undergoing separate renovations.
The YMCA on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the Orange County Sportsplex in Hillsborough both are undergoing separate renovations.

Children of all ages have likely long since put crayon-to-paper and scrawled their letters to Santa Claus, including such ideas as new bikes, video games, or, occasionally, such unreasonable notions as a kitten or a puppy.

But why stop there? Why limit ourselves? Anyone able to hide an entire arctic village from Google Maps might just be capable of anything.

And if Santa may say “Yes” to an Ipad, will he utter a “No” to your wish for a Ferrari?

Or an athletic field?

Or a gymnasium?

It’s all in the community’s interest, after all.

Point is, if you’re going to ask, you might as well ask BIG.

With that optimistic philosophy, here’s just a sample of what’s on recreation agencies’ gift lists this year.

‘Jolly old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way!’

‘Don’t you tell a single soul, what I’m going to say ...

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation isn’t asking for much: just manpower – clearly an easy wish to fulfill by someone himself in charge of an unlimited (elfin) workforce.

“We can always use more volunteer coaches,” Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation athletics specialist Mike Troutman said. “We’re in basketball season, so that’s what we’re focusing on right now: a need for volunteers. We’ve sort of got basketball taken care of, but we have just enough coaches.”

While Troutman added that Chapel Hill can always use more equipment and facility space, the next need will be interest in baseball registration, which begins for locals on Jan. 5.

“Also, our Pitch-Hit-and-Run baseball skills competition this spring is something that’s on our agenda,” Troutman said.

‘Christmas Eve is coming soon; now you dear old man,’

‘Whisper what you’ll bring to me; tell me if you can ...’

Nobody’s asking much in Carrboro: only dominion over natural elements, that’s all.

“For our Santa list this year, we would love to have some great weather for the spring to help ensure some of our facility projects go smoothly,” Carrboro Recreation and Parks rec supervisor Charles Harrington said .

‘Johnny wants

a pair of skates,’

Heading up many of the projects will be Carrboro Recreation and Parks facilities administrator Wendell Rodgers, who said that his agency’s projects are all over the Carrboro map.

“We’re now in the process of renovating the all-purpose field at Hank Anderson Park with a well, irrigation, and also lights,” Rodgers said. “That project will be kicking off sometime this spring.

“Out at Anderson, we’re also resurfacing the tennis courts and the basketball court, and we’re going to replace the bathrooms.”

“We’re also replacing the tennis courts at Wilson Park beginning with a new subsurface,” Rodgers added.

“Right now, it’s unstable with numerous cracks that keep reappearing even after we’ve resurfaced it, so we’re actually going to be replacing those courts.”

Rodgers said that the third major project being undertaken in Carrboro this spring will be the renovation of the basketball court at Baldwin Community Park on Broad Street.

“We’re making it a full-length basketball court,” he said, “and moving it just a little bit farther from that park’s community garden.”

Suzy wants a sled…’

‘Billy wants a picture book, yellow, blue, and red…’

Administrators at the Orange County SportsPlex are also focusing on self-improvement.

“I think what we’re asking Santa for is for all of the construction to be successfully completed and for our members to be enjoying our new facilities,” Orange County SportsPlex membership and marketing supervisor Robin Zwilling said.

“We have a big expansion going on right now, and they’re almost finished with our new group exercise room, which is huge,” Zwilling said. “So now we’ll have two group exercise rooms, and the bigger one will have dividers so that we can have three classes going on at the same time.”

Zwilling said that 2015 will also bring about construction on a second part of the fitness mezzanine, which will cross over and overlook the facility’s pool side.

“They’re hoping to have that completed within six months,” she said.

Zwilling said the SportsPlex hoped that, if Santa delivered on all of the improvements, it would bring about a boost in membership, but they’ve added some of their own incentives, just the same.

“We’ll be holding our membership drive starting Jan.3 through Jan. 10, when we’re waiving all initiation fees for signing up,” Zwilling said.

“Our summer camps are under revision. We’ll be sending our summer camp brochures out by mid-January, and they’ll be a whole new summer camps.”

‘Now then, I will tell to you,

what to give the rest…’

Currently under renovations itself, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill is hoping Mr. Kringle delivers community support to help the agency surpass its fundraising goal.

“We’d love to exceed $300,000 in fundraising,” branch executive director Kim Grooms said. “But we’re also grateful already for the patience our members have had as we work to renovate our branch.”

More to the point, however, Grooms said she was particularly grateful for the gifts bestowed upon her agency by the community, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.

“Our one Christmas wish would be the continued strong support of our community and members,” Grooms said, “as well as their patience as we complete the work on our branch and introduce a new, expanded facility for everyone.”

‘Choose for me

old Santa Claus.

You will know the best.’

With that, let us all humbly include on our lists a few of the things that truly matter: peace, health, and happiness.

Surely, that’s not too much to ask from someone who can pack a sunny spring and a couple tennis courts into his gift sack.

And, after all, if you’re going to ask, ask big.

Now, about that Ferrari.