The second of a series of hearings on the feasibility to build an indoor/outdoor recreation facility in Crossville was held at city hall last week during which a presentation about a facility in Manchester was given.

Approximately two dozen people turned out for the hearing which is being used as a component of a feasibility study on which members of city council will base their vote on building the facility later.

It appears there is a consensus among members of council to move forward with the project once a plan is completed and funding obtained. Those in attendance seemed to be largely in support of the plan.

Bonnie Gamble, parks and recreation director for the city of Manchester — which she said is comparable to the size of Crossville — presented a slide show and fielded numerous questions from attendees.

Also in attendance was Kyle Dunn and Jim Gilliam, representing WOLD HFR, the consulting firm hired to conduct the feasibility study on the facility.

The biggest message delivered by Gamble during the latest hearing, in response to what citizens want in an indoor recreation facility, was to plan for multiple uses for the same space.

One citizen who did not identify himself asked if there was a plan for pickleball courts.

Gamble said one thing learned from the Manchester facility was to plan for multiple uses of the same space. The basketball courts are also used for volleyball games and floor markings and dividing walls or curtains can make the same space usable for pickleball, if it is decided to add that amenity.

The lack of regulation-size indoor swimming pool in the region is also a consideration as a tourism draw and boost to sales tax and local business. Gamble said that if a competition length pool is built, requirements that make it usable as a competition amenity need to be met.

The pool could also be used for water aerobics and dance team swimming and competitions.

A well-planned recreation facility can be a boost to community health, a host of activities for all family members, a tourism draw, a recruitment tool for business, industry and new residents and a boost in local real estate values. This would be true, Gamble said, in the area surrounding the recreation center.

Manchester’s recreation facility has a budget of about $900,000 a year, which includes city parks and hiking trails. The recreation facility operates at only a 15 percent deficit annually.

This is due to the large income drawn from classes, summer programs, after school programs, state and regional competitions in swimming sports and basketball tournaments (concession sales) and memberships.

Memberships range from family packages to individual, from monthly to annual payments.

Studies can be conducted on the financial impact of a recreation center through the boost of tourism revenue, taxes, property values and sales tax.

The date, location and time for the next hearing will be announced


Michael Moser may be reached at