New Huntsville Parks & Rec director hopes to build on recreation center programs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville Parks & Recreation department has long prided itself on offering local and fun opportunities for the community, but it also admits there are some improvements needed.

“Currently we’re looking at several,” new department director James Gossett told News 19. “One of the things we talk about with our facilities is several of our facilities are older. They’ve been in the communities a while. We’re talking about freshening up our health & wellness centers, our fitness centers, providing some new equipment for the communities to come in, something that communities can get behind and be proud of.”

That also includes keeping kids busy when not in school, especially with day camps during breaks in semesters.

“Programming is going to continue to be very high,” Gossett said while holding a Winter 2022 Programs Guide. “We’re already working on our summer programs. I think it’s going to be exciting for the communities to be involved in.”

Nine centers throughout Huntsville offer the camps, which are for K-6th graders and run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. The cost for campers is $50 per week.

“Childcare is big for a lot of families so we want to have something that’s affordable for them,” Gossett said. “But also their children, when they leave them with us they’ll benefit.”

But to Gossett, improving quantity will be important in addition to programs’ qualities.

“These are community centers. We want these to reach the residents in their community. Most of the residents don’t want to drive very far to go to an activity. About five miles is the most they’re willing to go. So we have these strategically located in our community to serve those residents.”

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