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All demographics heard from during recreation center planning meetings

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For the Daily Press

The Artesia Recreation Center Foundation held meetings across town June 12-13 to assist with developing plans for a new recreation center the foundation hopes to have finished in December 2024.

The recreation center will replace the Artesia Center, built in 1980, and become the new destination for sports and recreation in Artesia.

Sandra Borges, project president, and Jose Zelaya, project architect, had four meetings on June 13 alone, during which they asked city residents what they would include in the recreation center if given the choice.

At 9:30 a.m., the project representatives, joined by Mayor Jon Henry, heard from children participating in the summer rec program at the Artesia Center. Though some of the young audience’s input seemed comical, Borges and Zelaya clearly took all ideas seriously, adapting comical answers into applicable options.

For students, trampolines, zip lines and ball pits were among the most common of answers. Mason Combs wished for “a ton of LEGOs placed everywhere,” while Artesia Center staff echoed hopes for an arcade and other attractions suitable for young adults.

At noon, project vice president Robby Ballew and project director Cooper Henderson joined Borges and Zelaya to present to a group of corporate and professional Artesians, including employees from local banks and the Chamber of Commerce. The title of the presentation, “Recreation-Wellness-Fitness-Community,” aptly describes the foundation’s goals for the new center, which is to “build that culture of well-being,” according to Borges.

The final meeting was held at 5 p.m. to a Spanish-speaking audience in the hopes that all Artesians will be able to have their input heard and their needs considered.

The new recreation center will be developed directly south of the Artesia Aquatic Center over 7 acres of land on the corner of Bowman and JJ Clarke drives. Project directors are planning to include an indoor walking track, basketball and volleyball area, group fitness rooms, multi-purpose meeting rooms, and indoor courts designed for the newly popular game pickleball.

Members of the community with ideas or concerns should not fret, as the committee is planning to host another set of these community planning meetings in the future as plans for the rec center continue to


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