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New building dedicated at Central Park
Addition to recreation center welcomed
Officials, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, second from left, cut a ribbon Tuesday morning to mark the opening of the expanded recreation center at Central Park


There's just something special about that new rec center smell.

Kathy Downes can't wait to move her pilates and yoga classes into new rooms at the Central Park Recreation Center addition.

She raved about the wood floors, larger space and nearby bathrooms in the expansion.

"It's just new and gorgeous," Downes said. "The participants here are so excited."

Forsyth County officials welcomed the opening with a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning at the facility off Keith Bride Road, north of Cumming.

The crowd also toured the 15,000-square-foot addition, which boasts three large rooms for classes, as well as a banquet room, larger kitchen and extra bathrooms and storage.

"It's just a lot more functional than what we have in the other building," said Laura Pate, the parks and recreation department's program supervisor.

Pate showed off the new classrooms, which have flooring designed specifically for exercise, yoga and dance. They also feature two-way mirror windows, which allow people to watch classes without disturbing them.

The courses will start as early as Oct. 4 and the center should be at full use in a couple of weeks, said Jerry Kinsey, parks and recreation director.

He said the larger rooms will increase class sizes for popular exercise programs, which is exactly what had instructor Downes so excited.

"It'll open it up to more people, and that's what it's all about," she said. "We'll be able to have more classes, more people, more memberships and increase the money."

Kinsey said the center's construction came in under budget at about $2 million. Funding came from the $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond that voters approved in 2008.

"We have to thank you, the voters of this county, for making this project a reality," said Chairman Charles Laughinghouse during the ceremony.

He called the center "one of this park's greatest offerings," and said he was excited for residents to enjoy it.

Parks and recreation board member Cindy Mills said the opening made her recall how residents had pressed county administration for a park.

"The people's voices were heard. We have Central Park because of that," Mills said. "This is an addition to that. It's a wonderful place for people to come and meet."

She recognized the park's center as a popular spot for families and children to play and learn, something Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle praised the county for during the ceremony.

"The thing I love about Forsyth County is they always get their priorities right," he said. "And their priorities are children."