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North Star Community Recreation Center update tonight

A multi-year, multi-million dollar community wellness center is on the far horizon for the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Parks and Recreation managers will make a presentation to the public tomorrow night on the demand for, size, and cost of the North Star Community Recreation Center.

The project is still being studied, and Parks and Recreation folks have had several community meetings and surveys about expanding the Big Dipper Ice Arena into a multi-sport year-round wellness complex. Recreation Superintendent, Brian Charlton, says the Programming Study so far ranked priorities.

“The top 10 things were recreational swimming, somewhere for walking and running, indoor playground, senior programs, more swimming, community fitness. And then towards the end was the team sports like basketball, volleyball, pickleball, hockey, soccer.”

OK, so that’s 11. But he points out that the overall theme is community wellness.

“We took all of those responses and with professional architects and designers, we developed what those facilities would look like in a building.”

And that will be in the presentation Wednesday evening at the Carlson Center. There will be diagrams of how a lap pool, a recreation pool, ball fields and play areas will fit into a building on the back of the Big Dipper on Cowles Street.

“We found that all of these facilities do fit on the Big Dipper site and we have conceptual mockups of what that looks like that we'll be presenting on Wednesday.”

And it will be expensive.

“Building everything the community wants might price us out of a project.”

Charlton says the North Star Community Recreation Center has been in the borough’s Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, for a few years, but it hasn’t been scoped or advanced yet. He says it will have to come slowly, as the community can afford it.

“One of the things the mayor asked us to do was to create phases. And so, we came up with five different phases. What we haven't done is picked which of those phases would be first. That was something that we thought would need more community input.”

Each component would be designed to be built separately, in any order. Aquatics, that would be the swimming pools, Community Activity and Fitness, that’s playgrounds, group exercise area and socializing spaces, Indoor Turf, a field for team sports, Gymnasium, courts for multiple sports with a walking track above them and an ice component, an additional hockey rink.

“Now the next step, if the community decides to move forward, would be to enter into kind of a conceptual design, initial design, which would help us actually narrow down the costs.”

The meeting will take place at the Carlson Center from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.and will be broadcast online as well. Zoom access information is on the project’s website, find the link on the Parks and Recreation page at FNSB. Gov.



Time: Oct 19, 2022 06:00 PM Alaska

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 867 5592 2362

Passcode: 087079

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.