While a healthier lifestyle is something people may aspire to, residents of Wayne (pop. 5,583), actually took a giant step on November 18, 2002, toward achieving it. That’s when the new Wayne Community Activity Center opened its doors with 1,800 members already logged.
Since then, the center has continued to experience record growth attributed, in part, to a roomy, comfortable facility where members can take part in activities, from jazzercise to basketball.
Measuring about 38,000-sq.ft., the Community Activity Center houses a gymnasium with an indoor track, fitness room, youth center, and a community room. The facilities are open to all residents of northeast Nebraska through memberships, daily drop-in rates, or punch cards, with hours to fit almost anyone’s schedule. As an added enticement, the youth center is free to all youth in grades five through 12. The community room and youth center also can be rented for meetings and special occasions.
Healthier lifestyles aren’t the only thing that the center promotes. Members can improve their sense of community by meeting new people through basketball and volleyball leagues and exercise classes, or while working out in the fitness room, which features treadmills, bikes, weight resistance machines, free weights, and other fitness equipment.
Youth members can find camaraderie with others through soccer, football, basketball, and volleyball leagues. Open after school and throughout the summer, the center features a large game room where youth can play billiards, ping-pong, foosball, and games. They also can check out DVDs and videotapes to watch on the big-screen TV.
“About 40 to 50 kids attend the youth center during the school year, and about 20 kids attend during the summer,” said Justin Thede, facility director.
For five years, Wayne’s younger residents had no place to call their own. The former youth center was closed in 1997 because it was not ADA compliant and had deteriorated to the point of being unsafe. After it closed, a group of parents dedicated themselves to establishing a new center. They joined forces with the Community Activity Center Committee to raise awareness about the need for a center designed to meet the needs of all age residents. The committee increased awareness through a mail survey, in which 96.6% of respondents believed that Wayne needed a new community center.
This high level of interest in a new center sparked voters to pass an additional 1% city sales tax to help fund its construction. Along with sales tax revenue, the $4.2 million center was funded through private donations, fundraising activities, and a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant that Governor Mike Johanns awarded the city.
“The Wayne Community Activity Center has given residents the opportunity to increase their physical activity, get in shape, and lead a healthy life,” said Thede.
Wayne Community Activity Center
Northeast Nebraska Development District (Grant Partner)
Rick Zubrod (DED Representative)
(402) 471-3762 • (800) 426-6505