I was encouraged to see so many people in attendance at the Aug. 26 public forum to begin the visioning and community input into creating an indoor recreation facility in South Burlington.

As Kevin Dorn explained, this is the initial phase of designing a facility. The next public forum will be held mid-September. The city website now offers an online survey. You may also see the replay of the Aug. 26 forum on the city website. The city will be engaging the whole community in every stage of this process. Stay tuned on Front Porch Forum and the city website for more!

I am personally very excited to see this project advance. In the 12 years I have served on the South Burlington Recreation and Parks Committee, creation of indoor recreation (active program) space has been a priority for the recreation and parks department. We, on our committee, have been approached by people wanting indoor playing fields. Recently, for example, pickleball has become popular, first among seniors, and now among teens. The recreation and parks department for decades has not been able to fill the requests for active programming. In particular, we have not been able to serve the needs of pre-school and post-high school populations. 

At present, the South Burlington Recreation and Parks Department has 550 square feet of indoor recreation space, and yes, that space is used by enthusiastic Jazzercise and other groups.

Some people raised the question of duplication of facilities with the schools. I hope people will think in terms of populations served, rather than duplication of facilities. Preschool and adult users cannot now, and will not in the future, be served by renting space in the off-use time of school facilities. The off-time use does not and will not coincide with program needs.

We have seen the wonderful success of our recreation and parks department event, SoBu Nite Out, which has attracted over 1,000 people a night in the three years of this event. We believe the community will respond enthusiastically to a well-planned and cost-efficient indoor facility. What will be possible? Basketball, pickleball, soccer, running/walking, yoga, community events, summer camp in inclement weather, concerts, other? Please share your vision!

Jennifer Kochman 

South Burlington Recreation and Parks Committee member

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