Fayetteville opens a center for the elderly with a view of the lake; future tennis complex

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I knew the Bill Crisp Senior Center would be built near Lake Rim – a stone’s throw from Lake Rim Park and next to the Beauty Spot Missionary Baptist Church.

What I only understood on Tuesday is what the Lake Rim show offers, seen from inside the center. Large windows in the center offer a sparkling view of the lake amidst the woods – this adds a meditative aspect to the fitness room, dance studio, lounge and large meeting space that overlooks one of the plans major water sources in the city.

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The city and Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning for the $8.3 million senior center, named in honor of the late Councilman Bill Crisp. Afterwards, guests toured the center, with Parks and Recreation volunteers on hand to help answer any questions.

Myron B. Pitts

Belinda Jackson, the recreation center supervisor for senior programs, said many people complimented the windows.

“Gorgeous,” she says of the view. “I’m going to come to work and I’m going to stand there for a minute, then drink my coffee, enjoy it and start my day.”

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The reflected image of the lake shines through particularly in the dance hall with its large mirrors. It was there that I saw William Crisp, the son of the center’s namesake, chatting with Brian Gaskell, the recreation center’s assistant supervisor for senior programs.

The view from the Bill Crisp Senior Center dance studio at 7560 Raeford Road.
Jean Holman tries out some of the exercise equipment at the Bill Crisp Senior Center at 7560 Raeford Road on Tuesday October 25, 2022.

I asked William Crisp what he thought of the center named after his father.

He heaved a long sigh.

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“I wish my dad had lived long enough to see this,” he said. “He would like that. But that’s how things are. »

Crisp’s father was a retired command sergeant major and popular city council figure, known for his outspokenness and sense of humor. He died at age 81 on July 28, 2021.

William Crisp, right, is in conversation with Brian Gaskell, assistant recreation center supervisor for Parks Department senior programs, at the Bill Crisp Senior Center on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. The center, named for William Crisp's father, a late councilman, is located near Rim Lake on the old Raeford Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

William Crisp said he echoed his sister’s remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony at 10am on Tuesday: “It’s beautiful, it’s truly an honour. We’re so grateful.

Crisp said her father loved Fayetteville, was crazy about the city, and embraced it.

“Apparently there are people all over town who have kissed him,” he said.

William Crisp added that he plans to return to using the fitness equipment, playfully patting his stomach and saying he needs to work on a few pounds.

The living room of the new Bill Crisp Senior Center at 7560 Raeford Road.

‘To learn new things’

The Senior Center is located at 7560 Raeford Road — this is the “old” Raeford Road — in the western part of the county. The center measures 19,619 square feet and includes a “hot water pool, fitness center, dance hall, large multi-purpose space, full kitchen, offices and lounges,” according to a press release from the company. city ​​of Fayetteville.

The center will offer activities and programs for adults aged 55 and over, including arts and crafts, chess, book club, dominoes, walking club, phone and computer lessons laptop, aquafitness, Zumba and Tai Chi, the statement said.

The Bill Crisp Center is the Parks Department’s third senior center. A fourth, Senior Center East, is under construction near Murchison Road near Fayetteville State University.

The other members of Crisp’s council voted unanimously to name the center for him a few months before his death. Such a facility was a goal of Crisp, often referred to as the “dean” of the council, the statement said.

The Bill Crisp Senior Center Aquatic Center at 7560 Raeford Road.
Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation volunteer Louisa Arrieux, left, answers Mae Quick's questions about the pool at the Bill Crisp Senior Center on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the center on Raeford Road and afterwards, the guests could see the interior.  Arrieux, who lives nearby, said the center is perfect and she plans to take advantage of many of its programs and facilities, as well as volunteering.

“(Councillor) Crisp envisioned a building large enough to accommodate seniors and their needs while providing essential services that keep area seniors healthy, active and engaged mentally and physically,” the statement read. .

I spoke with several of these seniors as I visited the center on Tuesday. Among them were members of Beauty Spot, my parents’ church and where I grew up. I’m dating myself but was baptized in Lake Rim before the old church added a baptismal pool.

In the hall and the living room, I came across a group of friends who are in the Red Hat Society. They met at the Cliffdale Recreation Center and came to see what the Crisp Center had to offer.

They were impressed.

Gloria Henderson, left, Doris Shaw, Velma Roberson and Shirley Henry pose for a photo at the new Bill Crisp Senior Center on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. The women are part of the Red Hat Society and were among those who came on tour l establishment after an inauguration ceremony.  The center is located on Old Raeford Road near Lake Rim in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“I’m going to enjoy this pool,” said Velma Roberson. “I love water aerobics.”

Doris Shaw, a Red Hat who volunteered at the senior center, said the center was “spacious”.

Gloria Henderson said she lives nearby and has specific plans for how she will use the center.

“I had done tai chi before, so I will definitely continue my tai chi.”

She said she also liked the card game, bid whist.

“And for the pinochle? Roberson asks him.

Henderson said: “I don’t know Pinochle…but I can learn. That’s why we have this center, to learn new things.

Rise of pickleball

The Crisp Senior Center is one of the projects funded by a parks and recreation bonds passed by Fayetteville voters by a comfortable margin in 2016. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I consider it one of the best things the people of Fayetteville have done for themselves. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.

The press release states, “Other bond projects completed or under construction include 6 wading pools, park and playground improvements, Cape Fear River Trail extension, downtown skate park , a tennis center, recreation center renovations and a sports complex in partnership with Fort Bragg.

A site design for the tennis center under construction at 1300 Bragg Blvd., near the intersection of Filter Plant Drive in Fayetteville, NC.  The center is funded under a bond passed by voters in 2016 and will be a Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation facility.  It is expected to be completed in 2023

I would add that because the voter-voted bond managed the Parks Department’s capital projects and repairs and upgrades to existing facilities, the city was able to build three new pools, including one at Lake Rim Park.

It’s a busy time for bond money. Last Friday, city and parks and recreation officials ushered in the $11.5 million tennis center at 1300 Bragg Blvd, near the intersection with Filter Plant Drive.

The 6,594-square-foot center will feature 15 tennis courts, including a championship competition court, four pickleball courts, locker rooms, lounge, learning area and pro shop, according to a press release. It will offer tennis lessons and clinics for beginners to advanced players.

The center is expected to be completed in 2023.

The rise of pickelball illustrates how the Department of Parks and Recreation sometimes has to dance and weave to meet the parks needs and wants of the community. His staff under Michael Gibson has shown the ability to do just that.

A rendering of the pavilion of a 6,594 square foot tennis center under construction at 1300 Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Pickleball, a tennis-like sport that caught fire, especially with the older set, was hardly a thing when city voters first embraced the tie. But adding four pitches to the new center was a smart move.

And it will by no means be the only pickleball offering in town. Gibson talked about rolling out pickleball courts in various parks.

“We’ve done some at Rowan, we’ve done some at Massey Hill. We’ve added county courts in Eastover and Wade. We’re going to do it in Linden and we’re going to do it in Godwin.

Gibson said the sport still attracts a large number of older people.

“But the younger ones are now starting to get into it.”

Myron B. Pitts can be reached at mpitts@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3559.

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