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Slimmed down hours
Board votes to cut back this spring
Jose Barrera, left, and Jessie Ban play basketball Tuesday at the Central Park Recreation Center. Starting in April, the center will be open less on the weekends to save money. - photo by Autumn McBride

The Central Park Recreation Center will have new and fewer weekend hours starting in April.

The change is aimed at trimming parks and recreation department spending down to what has been allotted in the 2011 budget.

“We’ve got to find a way to meet our budget and this is what we came up with,” department director Jerry Kinsey told the
Forsyth County commission during a work session Tuesday.

The new hours are intended to make up a $6,100 reduction from 2010 to 2011 in the department’s seasonal staff hours budget.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday operating hours will be affected by the change.

The center will close two hours earlier on Friday, at 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

Saturday hours will shift to 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. from a 10 a.m. opening since, according to staff, the morning hours are typically busier.

The center will be closed on Sunday instead of its current hours of 2 to 6 p.m.

Department staff record the number of visitors to the center, and data from 2009 and this year to date show Sunday has by far the fewest people using the weight room, indoor walking track and basketball courts.

Notices of the changes have been posted around the center for the past couple of weeks. Kinsey said the staff has received just one written complaint about the plan.

That person, Kinsey said, wrote that weekend days are when working people are able to get out and use the facility.

“We can adjust this if we get more visitors and more people coming or complaining, then we could open it back up on Sunday,” he said. “It’s not set in stone.”

While the parks and recreation department proposed the changes take effect in January, commissioners opted to wait until the winter months have ended, making outdoor opportunities for recreation are more available and popular.

The board voted 4-0 in favor of the change, with Chairman Charles Laughinghouse absent.