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GRF CoverGovernment Recreation & Fitness

Highlights of the January 2016 Issue

Gateway to the Great Outdoors: Army Corps Provides Endless Recreation Destinations


As the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) manages more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states, and hosts more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, the Corps provides a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

“We have more than 5,000 parks across the country at our 404 lakes, providing opportunities for the public,” noted Meredith Bridgers, outdoor recreation planner for the Corps’ Institute for Water Resources (IWR). “In particular, on the Corps map you will see that there are lakes adjacent to, or an easy drive from, many military bases across the country. Part of our mission on both the federal and local level is to promote and encourage people to get out from behind their computer screens, and off the couch, and get outdoors and enjoy nature and recreating as a family outdoors. The Corps is unique among the federal agencies because you can do both land and water activities at a Corps lake. On our properties you can fish, swim, boat, hike, camp, hunt, bike — recreation opportunities abound!” ...



Play Ball: JBLM Unveils New Outdoor Athletic Complex


Lewis North Athletic ComplexJB Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., recently celebrated the opening of the Lewis North Athletic Complex (LNAC), a 24-acre outdoor sporting complex that features four softball fields, two multipurpose fields (for flag football and soccer) and two basketball courts. The $14.3 million military construction (MILCON) project was overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and was a joint construction venture between Total Site Services and Garco Inc.

According to JBLM Community Recreation Division Chief Rick Randall, the new complex was sorely needed because over the past eight years JBLM has lost all but four sports fields to military construction projects 

“The four remaining fields were sub-standard and without proper drainage, lights, scoreboards and updated backstops/ fencing,” he explained. “The climate here in the Pacific Northwest is extremely harsh on natural grass sports fields. During late fall, winter and spring seasons, natural grass sports fields are mostly unplayable. The all-synthetic sports fields at the Lewis North Athletic Complex now afford service members at JBLM the opportunity to spend their well-earned leisure time playing on top-quality recreational sports fields day or night, and year-round.”

Each of the four new fully synthetic softball fields has been architecturally designed to be 300 feet to the outfield fences at each angle from foul lines to straight-away centerfield. In the center plaza — at the convergence of the four softball fields — are four restrooms, a storage/ electrical room, and snack bar building equipped with sink, refrigerated coolers, hot dog rotisserie and roll-up serving window. ...


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Investing in Play: Playground Project Nearing Completion at USAG Hawaii


USAG Hawaii PlaygroundsIsland Palm Communities (IPC) is in the final phase of a playground improvement project that includes the updating and replacement of 22 playgrounds within military housing communities on Oahu within USAG Hawaii. The project came about after a careful analysis of existing playgrounds.

“Our team, along with playground design consultants, undertook an extensive review of more than 100 playgrounds in our communities to assess the condition of every structure in our 1,700-acre footprint,” said Tom Adams, director of property management for IPC. “Since we started our assessment, dozens of playground structures have been removed, and we’ve completed the design of 22 state-of-the-art, ADAcompliant playground replacements.”

According to IPC Project Director Pete Sims, in addition to the weekly inspections performed by IPC’s property management staff, IPC also had Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSIs) inspect and gather information annually.

“This information, plus walks and assessments done by IPC’s maintenance director, served as the basis for developing a major playground remodel program for IPC,” Sims explained. “The 22 playgrounds were in need of repair to ensure they were safe and compliant with CPSI standards, and some of them were of an age where replacement parts were no longer available, so the playground was closed due to safety consideration. Where it made sense and was practical, IPC rehabbed/remodeled existing playgrounds. Where it didn’t, we demolished and replaced playgrounds.” ...



Camp Casey Says 'Ahoy" To New Bowling Facility


Buccaneer Bowl at Camp Casey in KoreaSince the opening of the newly renovated Buccaneer Bowl at Camp Casey in Korea in 2013, the state-ofthe- art recreation facility has become an immediate and roaring success.

“Initially the revenue went through the roof as the community rushed to see what we had created,” said Gerald “Fish” Keener, manager of the facility. “We realized record-setting sales the first few weeks of opening. All departments were doubling what they had done previously. I knew that the initial surge would not continue forever, and that we had a limited time to capture the new market that were coming in to see what we had to offer.”

To keep interest in the new facility high, Keener focused on customer service. “It was priority one, with an eye to high-quality food being prepared and served to the customer in a quick and professional manner,” he explained. “Newly developed programs like Walk the Plank Bowling and Walk the Plank Poker, along with the process of informing our customers about the services we had to offer, such as meeting room availability, birthday parties and fun family programs, were displayed day one, as we wanted to turn the short-term buzz into long-term repeat business.”

The facility has increased its customer base by about 25 percent, according to Keener. “Historically, sales ran about $30,000 a month as an average, while now it is averaging $40,000 and more,” he said. “The main increase has been in family patronage such as birthday parties and Family Readiness Group (FRG) use.” ...