The Troy Community Center is located at 3179 Livernois Road.

The Troy Community Center is located at 3179 Livernois Road.

File photo by Jonathan Shead

Troy Community Center reintroduces programs in wake of pandemic

Day passes, walk-ins return to fitness center

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published July 16, 2021

 Troy Community Center members work out in the fitness center Jan. 21.

Troy Community Center members work out in the fitness center Jan. 21.

File photo by Jonathan Shead


TROY — The recent progression of the Troy Community Center’s COVID-19 reopening plan means the center has reopened back to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It definitely is more relaxing to be able to return to what we know; however, at the same time, it’s challenging to try to put everything back together in such a short amount of time, because we really didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the change,” Troy Recreation Director Brian Goul said, adding that summer camp numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels and the Family Aquatic Center has been thriving since reopening May 28.

“They’ve been at capacity four times in the last month, so they’re doing pretty well,” Goul said.

In Phase 5, which began June 22, mask requirements have been lifted; banquet center rentals will return; and day passes or walk-ins will be welcome at the fitness center beginning July 12.

“We’re aiming for mid-August to start going back to renting the rooms as much as we can, and then in September for sure on the weekends too. We do hope things increase a little,” Goul said. “We hope to get most of the things back by winter at the latest, but we are reevaluating programs too. There’s some that may not come back and some that might be new, because there were some things pre-pandemic that weren’t doing well and the time could be used toward another program.”

The fitness center hours will be 5 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends. The community center plans to increase its hours back to 5 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends, Goul added.

The timeline for the return of many of the community center’s senior programs is no different, Troy Recreation Supervisor for Seniors Nikki McEachern said.

“We are gearing up in the fall to bring back many of our past senior programs indoors. There’s not going to be masks required for anyone. There’s not going to be social distancing required. Those restrictions have been lifted for our community center. That said, if people feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask, they’re more than welcome to do so,” she said.

Senior programs slated to return include computer classes, pickleball lessons, card groups, and arts and crafts programs. The center’s adaptive programming, for adults with disabilities, including its day program and monthly Friday Frolick dances, are also returning.

“We have a whole slate of programs for adults with disabilities that are coming back to the community center this fall. We’re really excited about that as well,” McEachern said.

Other programs, like the Kids Korner and youth birthday parties, are slated to return in the fall and winter, respectively, as well as events like the Frightful 5K Run and Fall Fest. The senior loan closet does not yet have a slated return date, nor does Meals on Wheels.

“We’re not 100% sure when, though, because that’s up to Meals on Wheels and when they get approval from the federal government to start doing it again,” Goul said.

Rolling into spring 2022, the center will begin to utilize the city’s new Town Center, located in the former north parking lot of the community center, for programming. “Definitely next year we plan on using that for quite a few special events outdoors next year,’’ he said.

As the community center works to phase preexisting and new programs back into the fold, they’re still facing challenges along the way, namely a lack of human capital.

McEachern said three new part-time recreation department staff were recently hired to help with programming, but because fall programming is currently being organized as the new employees receive training, she said some programs will be phased in later when the new staffers are ready.

“They’re not quite ready yet to bring everything back this fall, so some of those things will be phased back in in the winter.”

The lack of a new assistant recreation director, the position Goul used to fill before being promoted, has left him wearing two hats still, he said. “We’re still down one full-time supervisor as well, because my (previous) position has still not been filled. Even though we have those other three part-time positions, we are still short of that main position, and that person did most of the community center job, so I’m still doing that.”

Another challenge may be meeting differing COVID-19-related demands from visitors, Goul said. “I think one of our challenges is trying to meet the demands of everyone; however, you can only go so far. You can’t do everything or make everyone happy, but we’re trying to do the best we can, following (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) guidelines. If things changed again, we would change to what they recommend.”

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