It doesn't matter whether you're a toddler or a senior citizen
- in Simpsonville you'll find plenty of opportunities for
fun and enrichment.
The city's recreational offerings include a packed calendar
of events and plenty of space for fun outdoors at the city's
six community parks and four mini parks. The city also boasts
the impressive Activity and Senior Center as well as a community
center suitable for functions ranging from birthday parties
Parks and Recreation Department Director Robbie Davis says
Simpsonville residents "do a lot of participating,"and he
and his staff aim to give them plenty of chances to do just
The city's recreational opportunities have expanded greatly
since the opening of the Activity and Senior Center in September
1998. The 35,000-square-foot building sits on approximately
10 acres and houses the Parks and Recreation Department's
administrative offices, a double gymnasium, a single gym,
a senior citizens' lounge, activity room, kitchen, concession
area and fitness equipment.
Creating the center not only meant adding something new, it
also represented an opportunity to preserve something old.
The single gym is a restoration of the historic Woodside Mills
gym, which was given to the city years ago, Davis says.
"It's all wood and absolutely beautiful,"he says, explaining
that the wood floor and massive rafters make an impressive
Getting the new building meant increasing opportunities and
expanding the size of the Parks and Recreation Department
staff. Four years ago, the department had three full-time
people, Davis says, and now it has 11.
And even more growth and new opportunities are on the way.
"We're in the process of building a new facility,"Davis says.
Plans call for it to include a five-field baseball/softball
complex with a control tower, multipurpose football/soccer
fields, an outdoor inline hockey court, an 18-hole disc golf
course, sand volleyball courts, nature trails, a nature center,
a water attraction, playgrounds and picnic pavilions.
The city has purchased 80 acres of land for the complex, which
will increase the city's parkland from the current 40 acres
to 120 acres. Although completion of the new complex is a
few years away, "it is a reality,"Davis says. "It's not a
plan or a dream anymore."
He hopes to break ground in early spring for the as yet unnamed
facility. Davis says officials plan to have a contest in the
schools after groundbreaking to come up with a name.
The first phase of the project to be built will be the baseball
and softball fields, since there is such demand for those.
Davis says he expects the new park will allow the city to
draw regional sports tournaments that will boost business
in Simpsonville, as out-of-towners fill up hotels, restaurants
and stores when they participate in tournaments.
Youth sports is a particularly important priority in Simpsonville
Ñ especially the baseball and softball programs, which annually
draw some 1,100 youths ages 4-18. With throngs of kids signing
up each year, when ball season starts "we go seven days a
week as hard as we can go,"Davis says.
"Other youth sports offered through the Parks and Recreation
Department are football and cheerleading, which attract some
400 participants, and basketball, which also brings in approximately
400 kids,"Davis says.
The area has a strong youth soccer program offered through
the Greenville Futbol Club, and the Golden Strip YMCA also
offers an array of recreation opportunities.
John Schlansker, the YMCA's senior program director, says
sports programs are offered for kids ages 4-17 as well as
for adults. Soccer, baseball, basketball, flag football and
cheerleading are offered for youths, and basketball, volleyball
and softball are offered for adults.
The YMCA building offers weights, exercise machines, a full-sized
competitive indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna, aerobics
area, a two-court basketball gym and field space for outdoor
sports. Schlansker says the Y offers a variety of programs
for all ages - from swimming lessons for infants to exercise
for senior citizens. More information is available at www.ymcagreenville.org.
Mill Baseball Park
parks, ball fields, golf courses and our new Senior
Center, Simpsonville has plenty of activities for residents,
both young and old. And, the list is growing... with
a new recreational facility on the way!
city's Parks and Recreation Department also makes senior citizens
activities a priority. Davis says the city has a full-time senior
coordinator who programs a range of activities including day
trips, overnight excursions, fitness activities and more.
Besides sports and seniors activities, Simpsonville residents
enjoy a variety of community events sponsored by the Parks and
Recreation Department. "We're starting to tap the market of
non-athletic things,"Davis says.
One such event is the annual "daddy-daughter dance"on the Friday
before Valentine's Day. "We pack our double gymnasium,"he says.
At the dance, you're apt to see little 3-year-olds standing
in a chair to slow dance with their daddies as well as teen-agers
and their dads out on the floor. Before the music begins, they're
treated to a candlelight meal.
Don't worry: Moms and sons aren't left out. The department offers
a mother-son dance complete with candlelight meal around St.
For Thanksgiving, an indoor turkey shoot is offered for kids
6 and older as well as adults. Prizes are given away to those
with the best BB gun skills.
Santa takes center stage in Simpsonville during the Christmas
season. The jolly old elf helps in the city's Spread the Joy
program when he delivers sacks full of toys to needy children.
He also makes a special visit for an annual breakfast every
year, followed by the Reindeer Games, in which kids participate
in all kinds of games and contests. Another fun program is the
Santa hot line, in which St. Nick telephones Simpsonville kids
to extend holiday greetings personally.
The future looks bright for recreational opportunities in Simpsonville.
With a new recreational facility on the drawing board and a
full slate of community programs and events, city officials
are poised to meet the demands of a growing and active community.Êk
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