OB officer Joseph JinksBy John Mullen
October 17, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Orange Beach is looking to spend about $107,000 to begin a redesign of the recreation complex at the northwest corner of Canal Road and Wilson Boulevard. 
“We’re trying to maximize that property to get the most out of it because it’s shrinking fast,” Mayor Tony Kennon said during the Oct. 16 regular council meeting. The council also had a work session after the regular session and discussed how the city will send help to Bay County, Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
The city’s highly successful Expect Excellence program growth is taxing what space there is at the current recreation center. 
“We don’t have enough space for activities for our kid,” Kennon said. “We’re up to 230 kids in our after-school program and there’s up to 80-90 over at Camp Sunshine.”
A new gym and where it will go has already been decided to help alleviate this problem. It will go west of the current gym on the lawn between the recreation center and community center. Davis Architects will provide the design and engineering for the new gym at a cost of around $72,000 and is working on an estimate for construction costs.
“We’re adding on another gym to the current rec center because one’s not enough with all the kids and the activities and the pickleball,” Kennon said.
One fix he’d like to see is another building for older patrons separate from the current recreation center and new gym.
“We’re also looking at building another building over near the pool and move all of the adults to that building,” Kennon said. “The weight room, cardio room, aerobics room, everything and a basketball court for the adults. We have so many kids now, we’ve got adults and we have so many people coming from outside we don’t know intertwined. We’re going to separate the two. The current rec center will become an after school and training facility, education facility all for kids. That’s sort of our vision and we’re working through that.”
Davis was also hired to come up with a master plan for phase one of the project and it will cost the city about $35,000 which will include the new building. How it will look after it’s done will be decided as they develop a plan, Kennon said. 
“It’s all up for discussion,” Kennon said. “This is part of what we are asking them to do. Help us design where we want to put things and the traffic flow and how we would redesign traffic flow to accommodate both.”
Not up for discussion is the new gym. Kennon and the council would like to see it up and running as soon as possible.
“We hope to have the gym next to the current rec center done within nine to 10 months,” Kennon said. “We’re moving as fast as we can to make sure we have it before next basketball season because we don’t have enough gym space.
“The other building, I’d like to see it done in a year and a half to two years.”
Atticle Continues...