New director of parks and recreation in Huntsville hopes to build on recreation center programs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville Parks and Recreation Department has long prided itself on providing fun, local opportunities for the community, but also recognizes that some improvements are needed.

“Right now we’re looking at a number of them,” new department manager James Gossett told News 19. “One of the things we talk about with our facilities is that a number of our facilities are older. They’re in the communities for some time, we’ve been talking about refreshing our health and wellness centers, our fitness centers, providing new amenities to communities, something that communities can support and be proud of.

This also includes keeping children busy when they are not in school, especially with day camps during semester breaks.

“Programming is going to continue to be very high,” Gossett said while holding up a winter 2022 program guide. “We are already working on our summer programs. I think it will be exciting for communities to get involved.

Nine centers across Huntsville offer the camps, which are for students in kindergarten through 6th grade and run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. The cost for campers is $50 per week.

“Child care is important to many families, so we want to have something that’s affordable for them,” Gossett said. “But also their children, when they leave them to us, they will benefit.”

But for Gossett, improving the quantity will be important in addition to the qualities of the programs.

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

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