FAC rounding out first decade

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Park’s crown jewel gets birthday celebration

By Todd Martin

Everybody loves a birthday party, and that’s why the city and county are inviting everybody to Clear Creek Park to help the Family Activity Center celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday.

And it looks like the spring weather is arriving just in time.

The forecast is clear and sunny for Thursday, high of 81, perfect for the park’s plans.

“We’d love to have everybody come out and experience the FAC and have a great time,” said Clay Cottongim, director of parks and recreation. “The FAC will be open free to the public all day, so they can come out and use any part of the facility, and we’ll have classes and demonstrations for people to attend.”

Along with the free admission, the park will also have inflatables for children, a picnic lunch and dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs and a discount for new members.

“We’re offering 20 percent off quarterly and yearly payments,” Cottongim said. “That’s the biggest discount we’ve ever offered.”

Cottongim has been with the parks system for more than 30 years and was on the parks board when the FAC opened.

“It grew a little faster than we expected it to,” he said. “Within the first five years we already needed to add more.”

He said the FAC alone boasts about 140,000 visits a year.

“It’s a tribute to all those that were involved in getting this started,” said Hubert Pollett, Shelbyville/Shelby County Parks and Recreation board chairman. “We worked on it forever before it came to reality. We tried for a long time to get some state funding, but when we couldn’t, the city and county took it up to fund. It’s really a credit to them.”

The FAC offers swimming, exercise and weight equipment, a gym, a walking area and many classes, ranging from yoga to dancing.

“It really has touched a lot of people,” Pollett said. “Everything is full just as soon as you start it. We have to continue to try to find places to do things. The FAC is really a tremendous facility and teaching tool for the community.”

Cottongim, who’s has been at the FAC for all 10 years, says he loves seeing the enjoyment of the patrons.

“I like seeing people come in and enjoy the fitness equipment, the walking loop, all of it,” he said. “It’s nice knowing we’re providing a year-around facility for the community to use.”

With the first decade nearly in the books, what can the community expect for the next 10 years?

“I hope to see another wing for daily fitness equipment demands and more gym space,” Cottongim said. “Hopefully we can continue to grow with the city and the county."

Pollett also noted some overcrowding he’d like to see solved in the near future.

“I’d like to see the park get more land and have the FAC continue to grow,” he said.

But for now, Pollett, who will be out of town Thursday, said he is just hoping the community enjoys the festivities.

“I wish I was going to be there,” he said. “I hope everybody has a great time, and the weather is supposed to be great. Hopefully that’s a sign for the future.”