Chapel Hill: Sports

Rec agencies ‘dressing’ for success

Carrboro expects to open Anderson Park in the spring.
Carrboro expects to open Anderson Park in the spring. RANDY YOUNG

During the holidays, there’s a shift afoot. While 11 months out of each year typically see recreational athletes dashing through the forests, lifting weights, or hitting the local links, courts, and diamonds, priorities change when the carols play. Now even the most fitness-minded members of the local community are more likely found dashing through parking lots, lifting gifts, and shopping for diamonds.

It may be beginning to look at lot like Christmas in some circles, but recreation agencies rightly schedule a bit of self-improvement and maintenance when demands are less over the holidays and during the winter months.

“All of the natural turf soccer fields – not the ones at Cedar Falls – but all of the natural grass fields are closed for the winter so that we can do maintenance,” Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation athletic specialist Mike Troutman said. “Cedar Falls is open year-round, but the others were closed on Dec. 1, and we’ll keep them closed over the next couple months.”

Troutman said there were no other projects ongoing currently, but the agency website noted that the Plant Road administrative office and Chapel Hill Community Center will be closed on Town of Chapel Hill designated holidays – Dec. 24, 25, and 28.

For schedules at the Hargraves Center or Northside Gym, call (919) 968-2794; for schedules at the Homestead Aquatic Center, call (919) 968-2799.

For more information on Town of Chapel Hill holidays, visit

Carrboro Recreation and Parks recreation supervisor Charles Harrington said several projects have recently been completed at Carrboro’s Anderson Park.

“The replacement of the rest rooms and storage facility is done,” Harrington said. “We’ve re-graded and replaced the turf on the large, open field in the back, and we also added lights.”

Harrington added that the field would be closed until an as-yet-undetermined date this coming spring.

It’s one of the quietest weeks we see at the facility.

Greg Lee, YMCA

“Our facilities division is allowing the turf to establish itself,” he said. “We don’t have a definite opening date yet, but public works and facilities will continue to monitor the field, and as soon as it’s appropriate to open it, we’ll make an announcement.”

Carrboro Recreation & Parks Department offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. due to a town function. Also, the agency will be closed Wednesday,Thursday, and Friday, Dec. 23- 25.

YMCA of the Triangle Communications Director Greg Lee said a host of the major renovations at the Chapel Hill / Carrboro YMCA branch at 980 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill were completed last year. This season is seeing some routine maintenance projects undertaken, however.

“We actually just re-opened our downstairs wellness floor where we put all new floors in, changed the layout of our equipment, and opened up some space,” Lee explained. “This gives our members a little more room to move around.”

The return of exercise equipment to the wellness center floor means renewed availability of the gym space where the equipment had been temporary relocated.

“We also get our gym back, but only temporarily,” Lee said. “During the Christmas week, we’ll be re-finishing our gymnasium floors, and that’s something we do every year.”

“It’s one of the quietest weeks we see at the facility,” Lee added, “so it’s a great time to get the gyms cleaned up and looking real nice before January comes: that’s when we see a thousand kids coming in for youth basketball at our facility.”

There will be continued work on the perimeter of the lower wellness floor through December 18, but members will have access to the wellness floor during this work.

The YMCA will be open through 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24, and will be closed all day on Christmas, Friday, Dec. 25. It will close at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Thursday, Dec. 31, but the YMCA will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan. 1.

Double-digit blowout

As the Orange County SportsPlex blows out the candles on its anniversary cake celebrating 10 years with Orange County, its biggest wish may be to set shovel to earth this coming season on a new indoor field house.

“Construction hasn’t started yet,” Orange County SportsPlex membership and marketing director Robin Zwilling said, “but we’re hoping it will start sometime early in 2016.”

According to plans, the new 34,000-35,000-square-foot facility would include an indoor soccer field, a three-lane indoor walking / jogging track, and a basketball court.

We’re still celebrating our anniversary with Orange County.

Robin Zwilling, Orange Sportsplex

Leading up to its first decade with Orange County, the SportsPlex has already seen substantial upgrades over the past 18 months, including new ultraviolet (antibacterial) protection on all of its pools, a renovation to its lobby, expansion to its group fitness area, and improvements in its ice rink facility.

“We’re still celebrating our anniversary with Orange County,” Zwilling added. “We had a ceremony (last) Friday morning. That leads into the holiday season that will see all kinds of celebratory and holiday-related activities, including Nutcracker on Ice this Friday and Saturday.”

“There will be ‘Skate with Santa” session during public skating this Sunday, Dec. 20,” Zwilling said, “and ‘Slapshots at Santa’ on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 20-21during our skating sessions. Also, we’re hosting a blood drive on Dec. 23.”

While the SportsPlex will be closed on Christmas day, it will be open until 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve for public skating, and it will re-open for skating on Saturday, Dec. 26. It will be open for skating on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.