Mar. 31—Recreation on the Western Edge took a significant blow in 2020, but the friendly faces at Dickinson Parks and Recreation maintained focus on bringing the community together through providing endless amounts of programs, events and places for people to stay healthy, happy and having fun.
Inside the West River Community Center in Dickinson, area residents and members spend their afternoon relaxing in the "lazy rivers" or cruising their way down two water slides at southwest North Dakota's largest recreational facility.
From rock climbing walls as the perfect indoor adventure to full-service recreation options like water recreation, gymnasiums, racquetball, fitness center, tennis courts, golf simulators, a playground, and track, the center gives residents a plethora of options for staying active and healthy.
Despite the amenities, lockdowns severely impacted the facility.
"So far, I would say, obviously we dealt with a lot of COVID issues in 2020 and we're still dealing with them now," Matt Mack, director of recreation/facilities reports for the WRCC, said. "However, things have loosened up .... Obviously everyone had challenges, including ourselves. We're just focusing on the future and moving forward from all of this."
The pandemic took an unfortunate toll on the WRCC last spring with the facility having to close down in March to follow Gov. Doug Burgum's smart restart guidelines and to prevent its guests from contracting the contagious virus.
After what felt like an eternity for the Dickinson community, the WRCC opened its doors to the public again on May 5 as part of phase I of the Smart Restart guidelines for fitness centers, which included opening the basketball court and some of the fitness equipment. With its re-opening success, the facility went into phase II a few weeks later which reopened the swimming pool, hot tub and locker rooms.
Nearly one year later, the ever popular WRCC is back to fully operational status and is inviting residents to come back as its programs return to full swing.
"We've been able to open our lobby back up, we're running birthday parties again," Mack said. "We've got all of our machines back open, our group fitness classes have picked back up, we've added some new ones. We got them back in the studio now, resumed our kids' fitness classes."
The numbers of guests and memberships continue to grow with each passing day for the WRCC as it returns to being one of the best places to be at within the city of Dickinson if recreation is being sought.
"We're just happy to see our regulars coming back now and new people starting to use the facilities, so we're excited to help them along on their fitness journeys and just to be open and to see them again is just a great thing," Mack said.
Most work out facilities are known for only having the occasional dumbbells, treadmill and other traditional workout equipment, which makes some visitors feel uncomfortable or unable to work out. Fortunately, at the WRCC, just walking into the front doors will show you, this is far from just any typical recreation center.
Along with a top notch weight room, featuring some of the best equipment possible, for guests that may want to put up some baskets or work on their volleyball game, one can go to the four court gymnasium. With the addition of the indoor warmth, a chilly winter night can be turned into a warm and peaceful workout.
For those that may want to swim, the WRCC features an indoor and outdoor pool suitable for all ages. However, for those that are looking for more of a workout in the pool, one can dive into the workout pool which is known for being the home of the Dickinson High School swim and dive teams.
For those that may want to work on their tennis or golf swing, the WRCC features two indoor tennis courts. Guests can also play pickleball, or racquetball in one of the small cubical rooms.
One also has the option of working out alone, or working out as a group. The WRCC offers many group exercise activities such as zumba, aqua strength, body basics, silver sneakers classic, cycle and even kids fitness.
On stressful days, yoga sessions are available to help bring balance, relaxation, and above all else, peace.
For those that may want a little more thrill, or take a challenge to a higher level, one can challenge themself in the rock climbing wall, a fan favorite.
Needless to say, everyone is welcomed at the WRCC and is sure to find something that is enjoyable for everyone.
"Our biggest thing that makes us unique is that we have a little bit of something for everybody here," Mack said. "From toddlers to seniors, we've got something for somebody here."
With the numbers continuing to climb with each passing day, the West River Community Center is truly one of the best places to be in southwest North Dakota and it will continue to be a fan favorite for many years to come.