Alexandria’s community center sees more activities, opportunities

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Kim Wagner, the City of Alexandria’s recreation director, knew she had her work cut out for her when she took the job in 2015. “It was a new position for the city. They never had a recreation director before,” she says as she sits in her office, nestled in a small alcove just above the main recreation room and basketball court of the Calvin A. Perry Community Center.

Down below on the court, a beach ball bounds and rebounds like a popcorn kernel from one side of a net to the other in a game of chair volleyball. Meanwhile, other community center members get their morning walks in, chatting as they make their laps around the gym.

“They just love chair volleyball,” Wagner says. “They’re very competitive. It’s not easy,” even if they’re always “laughing and having fun.”

The Calvin A. Perry Community Center is located next to the city building on West Main Street in Alexandria. Wagner manages the center and its activities. Although the center has been open for years, when she took the job, the number of things to do was limited. “When I took over the Community Center, they had just the walking,” she says. “So, I figured we needed a lot more things than just walking.”

Walking memberships are the staple of the Community Center. For $25 a month, anyone can use the Center’s upper floor walking track for exercise. Discounts are offered for seniors aged 65 and older. The upper floor also contains a small exercise room with cardio equipment and free weights.

Chair volleyball isn’t the only new thing at the Community Center. Residents can now enroll in both conventional yoga and chair yoga classes, Zumba sessions as well as bi-weekly sessions of Silver Sneakers, a specialized exercise program for seniors that’s covered by Medicare. There’s even an activity based on drumming, where members balance on an exercise ball and drum out rhythms on five-gallon buckets for exercise.

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Community Center members enjoy a Silver Sneakers session. Sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Photo by Nathan Granger

Community members can also rent the center for events like wedding receptions and homeowners association meetings, and reserve space for private group meetings.

As the recreation director, Wagner also administers Alexandria’s Community Park. One of the most exciting things happening this year at the park, she says, is the return of the Haunted Walk. “We haven’t had it the last two years because of COVID,” she says. At the event, local high school students set up small “scary scenes” around the park for people to walk through. “It’s just kind of neat because it’s dark,” she says. “We have it all candle-lit around the trail, and the lake’s there reflecting everything,” creating an undeniably spooky atmosphere.

Finally, Wagner and the Recreation Department are currently in the planning stages of replacing the small pavilion shelter in the park. The present shelter is small, only about 200 square feet. Wagner estimates that it’s only capable of accommodating a few picnic tables. Funded through the Kentucky Land & Conservation Fund, the new shelter doesn’t yet have specific dimensions, but Wagner’s hoping that it will provide a much larger space so that people can take advantage.

The current pavilion at Alexandria Community Park was built about twenty years ago and measures roughly 200 square feet. Photo by Nathan Granger.

“I try to get some new things each year,” Wagner says, “and keep people happy.”

Learn more about the Calvin A. Perry Community Center and its amenities by visiting its website.

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