A room in the Central Park Recreation Center will be available for fitness pass members to rent if Forsyth County commissioners agree with the parks and recreation board’s recommendation.
Parks board members voted 4-0 on Monday, with Kimberly Brown absent, to allow one dance classroom to be opened for an hour each weekday for adults who have passes.
Members could reserve the room for $5 to use for approved fitness activities.
The option would be available on a trial basis at the Central Park center, and the board would re-evaluate the policy in three months.
A recent complaint from a resident who'd been asked to leave an empty classroom sparked the discussion in May. The next month, the board voted on a formal policy to lock the rooms when they are not in use.
On Monday, resident Gayle Troyer asked the board if she could continue using a room to practice her ballroom dancing.
Troyer said practicing at home has been difficult and dangerous since she doesn’t have the space, wall-length mirror or dance floor like the recreation center classroom.
She’d been using the room several times a week for about six months, so Troyer was shocked when a center staff member asked her to leave.
“I’m a taxpayer like anybody else, and people regularly use these facilities,” she said. “Why can’t I?”
Chairman Todd Holbrook explained that leaving a room unlocked for open, public use can be difficult to monitor and possibly lead to safety and security concerns.
“We have to come up with a reasonable way of letting people use facilities that are not being used,” Holbrook said.
The issue, as member Dan Slott put it, was that Troyer was “outside of the process,” and the board discussed ways to develop a protocol to allow for such a use.
The board grappled with several potential scenarios of allowing open use, as Troyer had been doing, including people using the rooms for non-exercise activities, disturbing other visitors or causing damage to the facility or harming themselves.
The members eventually landed on opening up the option within the center’s fitness passes, which allow people to access select fitness classes or the gym.
Pass members must swipe a card, which contains a photo and their information, so the staff knows who is in the building.
The measure is one the board plans to institute in the future for anyone who enters the centers, including those on the walking track or playing basketball.