Alpine Community Center Director of Operations Shane Greer announced Monday that the center is waiving residential membership fees indefinitely.
Greer said community center staff has traditionally “looked the other way” when families— whether or not they were paying members— accessed the children’s play structure but this new policy formalizes the process so the center serves as a free, centralized downtown park with tennis courts, picnic areas, a small stage and a playground for residents to enjoy.
“We still need to have people complete membership forms so we can keep track of numbers. As a non-profit organization, we have to provide voting rights so we need to track basic information but we’re waiving the $60 fee for residents. They will have to update membership information on an annual basis but there is no cost to do so,” Greer said.
The facility has been closed for a full year to all events except the Senior Lunches that are offered twice a week to vulnerable, elderly residents but, as a privately-run non-profit organization that does not receive government funding, the center must still bring in revenue to remain operational.
“Last summer was supposed to be a turning point for us. We’d had a huge Valentine’s event and were just about to hold our Spring Fling; the biggest event we’d planned for the year was a huge Halloween bash that was being held as a community and fundraising event but then we unfortunately had to close,” Greer said.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Greer said, the center plans to offset the cost of memberships through large monthly events. Larger, private events have usually been held inside but Greer said he anticipates holding more outdoor events this year.
“I’d like to see our outdoor concert series take off this summer but redesigned to include more families in the community. A year ago, before COVID, I was talking with Joan MacQueen Middle School staff about having their Trash Can Band come out and do sort of a pre-show, like the opening band before the main performance. Hopefully we can pick up with those plans,” Greer said.
He also said he and center staff are excited to unveil a new Teen Room designed as a safe, fun place for tweens and teens to hang out. The project, he said, is one he wanted to see come to life since he came on board in 2019.
“I have been wanting to create a Teen Room downstairs since I got here.
It has a pool table, foosball, air hockey, ping-pong, chairs, couches so teens of Alpine have a cool, safe summer spot to hang out and play. We had an anonymous donor who was going to do some work to spruce it up with a fun paint treatment on the walls before COVID and that hasn’t quite happened but it’s still a really fun room and I’m excited to open it up,” Greer said.
The center also has a large senior base, he said, many of whom have begun asking when Matt Kraemer will return with sit-and-fit classes.
Although the fitness classes, which were held inside prior to the pandemic, are not yet on the horizon, Greer said there might be a way to hold the kickball tournaments and tennis clinics that were put on hold last summer while residents were advised to remain physically distanced.
As the center slowly reintroduces events, he believes the facility will reintroduce updates that were planned for 2020. Staff does need advance notice to rent out the park or stage for private events, he said but the facility is slowly opening up and residents will see updates happening “so the park is desirable” for everyday family use.
“We’d really like to be here for the community and we’re happy to offer a free membership if it means seeing families enjoying outdoor time together as things start to open up,” Greer said.
For more information visit www.alpinecommunitycenter.com or call (619) 445-7330.