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Rec center nearly perfect; has a few kinks to work out
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 00:00

The Cottonwood Recreation Center is a blessing to the community and its residents.

The activity hub encourages members to take charge of their health, provides a safe venue for youth activity and serves as a community center. On any given Saturday patrons struggle to find parking as the center explodes with activity.

Cardio machines hum, weights clang, basketballs pound the gym floor, swimmers splash in the pool and members sweat in group fitness classes.

It’s become the place to be in the Verde Valley. Personally, I love the group fitness classes, particularly yoga and spin.

Like all good things, the system at the recreation center isn’t perfect. Nearly two years in, center staff is still working out some of the kinks.

The issues I notice or hear about deal with the fitness classes offered.

Participants choose from multiple instructors if they wish to take a yoga or Zumba class. Other activities, such as spin, are limited to two instructors, while some are only offered by a single person.

If someone really enjoys a particular instructor, they will keep coming back. If they don’t, and there isn’t another option, they won’t.

A lack of qualified people in the area sometimes limits certain activites, said Ryan Bigelow, recreation program supervisor for the city of Cottonwood. They don’t have many people knocking on the door wanting to teach.

The class schedule could also use some breathing room. The one-hour classes are scheduled back-to-back leaving little transition time between activities.

After yoga, mellow, calm members are rushed by those amped up for a cardio class. Bigelow explained instructors are given a one-hour slot to set up, teach and have participants out of the room for the next. He said they continue to work on improving the transition.

Spin at 6 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays is by far my favorite, which is why I pay $2 extra for the class. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t pay the fee tacked onto a membership or day pass. Bigelow said the center is trying to recoup some of the money spent on the expensive bikes. The price has gone down since the center opened.

That reason would be completely acceptable if two of the exact same bikes weren’t sitting on the gym floor for members to use without a $2 charge. Bigelow said a few people request to use them, and if there isn’t a class going on, the center makes them available.

Despite small, nit-picky complaints, Cottonwood is the envy of all other area communities. No other city or town has a true community center.

Luckily, for those of us who live on the outskirts of the city limits, the center’s doors are open to us as well.


Verde Valley Weather



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