The weather continues to do its Southern Indiana flip-flop with warmth one day and freezing temperatures the next, but it’s not too early to start thinking about spring and a day spent in one of our city’s beautiful parks. Kathy Wilkerson, New Albany City Parks Department interim director, listed a variety of programs that are currently being offered for all ages to enjoy, some of which are going on now.
New Albany City Parks Department is currently offering a five week gymnastics class for tiny tots, beginners, intermediate, advanced and elite.
“We have had certified instructors for the last fifteen years. Most of our instructors started here when they were kids,” said Wilkerson.
Basketball is also in full swing with the gym at the Griffin Street Center on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The open gym is free, and for extra instruction the Redevelopment Commission is sponsoring the free basketball league, with sign-ups on February 6. As always, the league is open for boys and girls age 9-12 and 13-16. However, this year, there is a new league for ages 17-18.
“This is a brand-new young adult league. The kids from last year wanted to continue to participate, so now we have something for everyone,” said Wilkerson.
The New Albany City Parks Department was just recently created with the dissolution of the joint city-county department, the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department.
“We are still getting our feet wet, but we are now ready to get off the ground,” said Wilkerson.
“I am thrilled by the progress that we have made in just the first month,” stated Mayor Jeff M. Gahan.
The New Albany City Parks Department offers something for everyone in our community, including the senior citizens. Every week, the Senior Recruiters Club participates in a variety of free activities such as arts and craft projects and day trips. Recently, the group took in an IMAX movie and stopped into Kingfish for lunch. The Parks Department provides limited transportation to enable participants to get from their residence to the Griffin Street Center. Wilkerson encourages those who are interested to sign up for the monthly newsletter and schedule.
The New Albany City Parks Department also serves those in our community with disabilities via the Special Friend’s Club. The club focuses on social activities and some light skills. Participants from the New Albany and Floyd County area engage in dances, picnics, movies and a number of field trips throughout the year. Beginning February 4, the Special Friend’s Club will have a weekly bowling activity at Hoosier Lanes. Wilkerson said the activities are at a nominal cost, but the dances are often sponsored by a group and there is a lot of community involvement.
The Special Friend’s Club is also involved with the Special Olympics, which sometimes puts New Albany on the map, as athletes occasionally compete at the state level in track and field, softball, bowling and basketball.
Each day from 3-6 p.m., the four area recreation centers host after school programs for the public. The Griffin Street Center also has a fitness room that is free for the public. The treadmills and bicycles were donated by the Horseshoe Foundation, and the room has become a popular location for cardiac rehab.
Soon, the New Albany City Parks Department will post its schedule for upcoming events and summer camps, which as always will be free for the public. The summer programs are a great way for the youth to enjoy field trips, gym activities, beginner golf, arts and crafts and more.