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It will cost the town less to build a brand new facility than it would to renovate the existing site. The cost to bring the existing Rec Center up to code: an estimated $7.5 million. The new center, meanwhile, is currently estimated to cost $11.1 million, but $7.4 million of that will come from private donations. Therefore, the town’s share for a new building is estimated to be $3.7 million – less than half the cost of renovating the current site.
The funding for the new Rec Center will come from three parties. One-third of the cost has been graciously donated by the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation. An additional one-third will be matched by the Friends of Recreation, and the final one-third will be from the Town of Palm Beach. Once the news center opens, the sale of daily, seasonal and annual passes will boost the center’s bottom line and improve the recreation department’s balance sheet compared to how it looks today.
Yes, the center will continue to be geared toward children, but its programming has always served all ages and will continue to do so, with new, modern fitness facilities, a gym that can be used for various sports, an upgraded tennis pro shop and a snack bar serving juices, coffee and healthy snacks.
It’s expected that construction will begin in the early summer of 2017 with a target completion date of the fall of 2018.
There’s overwhelming community support, and need, for a new Rec Center. In the ETC Institute survey of Palm Beach, 25 percent of households indicated participation in recreation department programs over the past 12 months. Forty percent said they have a need for indoor fitness and exercise facilities. And 79 percent indicated that it was important for the Town of Palm Beach to have a modern recreation center.
The Town Council approved the latest conceptual design of the project in January, and the town will present the project to the recreation board and the Architectural Commission in February. If both boards approve the plans, they would return to the council for approval in March.
The Friends of Recreation, a nonprofit group of Palm Beach residents who believe that every town needs a recreation center that brings the community together.
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A SOLID GAME PLAN IS GOOD BUSINESS
The new facility will not only benefit the community’s residents, but it will also improve the Town of Palm Beach’s economic picture. Friends of Recreation engaged Ballard*King & Associates to produce an operations analysis of the new center. Please review the business plan.
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FRIENDS OF RECREATION MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
Matthew Smith – Chairman
Michael Ainslie – Vice Chairman
Darlene Jordan – Vice Chairman
Suzanne Ainslie | Carolyn Buckley | Whitney Bylin | Monnie Donnelly | David Gochman | Michael Kluger | Jebb McCracken | Alicia Mullen | Margi Picotte | John Preston | Robert Riva | Bob Simses | Lesly Smith | Steve Smith | Chris Storkerson | Fritz Van der Grift | Christopher Vecellio | Bob Wright