February 15, 2012

Sen. Manchin praises Rec Center growth | Logan Banner

CHARLESTON — Gov. Joe Manchin told Logan County officials that if he built a rec center in Chief Logan State Park, they’d have to run it.

The Logan County Commission, working with several business people and other county officials, put together a plan and presented it to Manchin, who kept his promise to build the facility.

Now, just a little more than two years after it opened, the Chief Logan Rec Center has 2,150 members and is looking to expand.

Manchin, who is now a U.S. Senator, said he’s proud of the Logan County officials for their hard work and diligence in running the Chief Logan Rec Center and he praised the Rec Center for getting so many people on the road to good health.

“Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Willie Akers and Wally Thornhill brag to me about it every time they see me,” Manchin said. “I told them they could be a model for the state and, truly, the Chief Logan Rec Center is a model for the rest of the state because of the partnership, the cooperation and people taking their destiny in their own hands. And, it’s not a drain on the state at all. If anything, it’s very efficient and productive for the state.”

Manchin said the Chief Logan Rec Center is working toward making Logan County one of the healthiest counties in the state, rather than being known as the unhealthiest as it was two years ago. Manchin said it’s a good sign for the future health of Logan County and the coalfields that 2,150 people are working hard to enjoy healthier lives.

“The Chief Logan Rec Center has given people a facility where they can do what they have always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity, and it becomes contagious,” Manchin said. “Everything is good about that. I think 2,150 members speaks volumes. The community bought into it. The state of West Virginia built the facility, but the people of Logan County are keeping it up and running it day to day and the state is not supporting it along those lines. I think that is a true, true testament. That is a good investment. Government spends and wastes money and government invests money. I think our state, during that period of time, invested money in the Chief Logan Rec Center and it was a very good investment that is paying off.

“Just think how healthy people are getting now that previously would have been dependent upon state services that would have cost a lot more. I tell Wally and everyone that they are proud of what they’ve done and I’m proud of how they did it.”

The Chief Logan Rec Center is a 64,000-square feet health and recreation facility that sports an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an elevated walking track, workout rooms, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, three tennis courts and basketball goals. The Rec Center offers exercise classes, including aerobics, steps, mixed martial arts, water aerobics and Zumba, among others. The Rec Center membership has grown so quickly and so many people are using the facility, that its board of directors are planning an expansion that will include a basketball court and other workout rooms.

Manchin said other counties should look to Logan County to see how they worked with the state to get the facility built and then to see how they are running the Chief Logan Rec Center all by themselves.

“A lot of people come and want the state to do everything for them. But, I’ve always said ‘What are you going to do for yourself?’ Now, Gov. Tomblin can say ‘Go to Logan and see how they are taking care of themselves,’” Manchin said. “It’s a great accomplishment.”

The Chief Logan Rec Center is directed by fitness guru Terry Mullins from Chapmanville. She has conducted workout classes for many years in different locations and had even wanted to put in her own rec center before taking the job in Chief Logan.

The Chief Logan Rec Center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The annual cost of Rec Center membership for a family of four is about a quarter a day.

By:  Michael Browning