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How Busy is College Park Community Center?

College Park Community Center is the only fully functional community center within College Park’s boundary. As part of the recent discussion on the City’s recreation needs assessment, we’ve been told that facilities, including the College Park Community Center, is rarely used.

On the other hand, we often get comments from residents telling us that depending on the time of the day, the College Park Community Center facility could be found very full, so much so that people are often turned away.

So I reached out to Mr. Jim Bell, the Facilities Director at the College Park Community Center, and asked about the capacity of the center during pre-COVID days.

Mr. Bell responded..
“we are very busy most days. We run programs that are inclusive of everything from childcare to recreation. Last year, in addition to programmed operations we accommodated over 350 hours of requests via our Community Connect portal. That is for outside groups and in addition to our class programs, childcare programs, recreational drop-ins for fitness, and the gymnasium. We host programs for the recreation council, the University of Maryland, and various other entities.

Out of 45 community centers, it is safe to say we are in the top 10 percent and perhaps higher.”

Yesterday, I further requested Mr. Bell to provide us with the facility’s usage data of the center for the year 2019. Today, Mr. Bell sent the following data about what a normal summer week looks like this for the center.

Camps 5 – 1 in each room (MP, Dance, Class, Gym, Preschool) attendance collectively 110 participants, time 7 am – 6 pm
Daily Classes – fitness room -15
Aikido – M / W 30
Judo – T / Th 100
Fitness – M/ T /W /TH – 25
Teens – F – 20
Dance – Sa – 25
Line dance M – 10
Pickle ball W- 20
Basketball Sa– 40
Soccer – Sa -20
Drop-ins – 10
Rentals – 60
Private rentals every other week – 100 / 250
Meetings – 20

The total for the month during the summer is safely over 4500 participants a month. Mr. Bell told me he would see this as conservative and it does not include the outside soccer field usage. That is used by four groups and averages over 400 per week or 1600 per month.

The numbers for the winter would be about the same. This is because we are substituting childcare for camp. Childcare is regulated and limited age-wise differently. It averages about 80 participants daily instead of the 110 for camps. Indoor use in the gym does go up in the winter for uses such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Thankfully, that statement in the GreenPlay report was corrected to only include City facilities and not the College Park Community Center. Unfortunately, GreenPlay never collected detailed data/statistics of the programming and usage at the College Park Community Center.

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