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WRCC sees membership decline

Perhaps a combination of the economy and a competitor moving to town, Dickinson's West River Community Center has seen a drop in numbers, but they may be on the rise.

"American Express closing last year, we've had some companies in town that have laid people off ... and also a year ago this month, Anytime Fitness opened," said James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks & Recreation, at a Board of Park Commissioners meeting, Monday evening. "I think if you add those three, four things up it's pretty easy to see where less than 400 members could go."

Total usage in October 2008, including drop-in and member usage, was 24,021 people, however the total for October 2009 was down to 19,760.

In October 2008 there were 4,297 total annual memberships and in October 2009 there were 4,120.

November 2008 brought in a total of 23,009 people and November 2009 brought in 19,679.

"We've actually seen a trend where the last three months we've been starting to go back up," Kramer said.

Kramer said when Anytime Fitness opened its doors, the WRCC did not see an immediate substantial drop to its membership numbers.

"It slowly happened over the course of the year," Kramer said. "They attract a different clientele. Kids can't go there."

Lower numbers have left a minimal financial impact on WRCC.

"There is probably a real slight effect that it's had," Kramer said. "It's not one that we can really pinpoint and say here's how much."

In other business:

* The fence for Dickinson's new dog park is in place, said Bob Faulhaber, facility operations manager.

* Both of Dickinson's outdoor ice rinks have been flooded, one at the Optimist Park one and on the east side of town.

* Two picnic shelters, blown over at Gress Complex during a July tornado, are in and ready to be replaced.

* A handicapped ramp and platform for wheelchairs has been built at the Dickinson Recreation Center, Faulhaber said.