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Oct 31, 2012 10:10 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Nine Pima Co. rec centers to be renovated just in time for summer

CATALINA, Ariz.- Chipped paint, holes in the wall, crumbling floors.

"I've lived out in the area 12 years and it was run down when I first came in," says Thomas Shaw, the groundskeeper at the Catalina Recreation Center.

Shaw says the nearly 40-year-old building needs a lot of repair. "The walls and the ceilings are bad, the electricity should be upgraded," Shaw says.

And now Pima County is making it happen. Parks and Recreation set aside $1.5 million to renovate nine rec centers. About $187,000 of that total will go to the Catalina Rec Center, one of the oldest and hardest hit facilities.

"It's important to renovate this facility now so that we can get another 20 or 30 years out of it," says Joe Barr, the county's recreation superintendent.

Upgrades at the Catalina Rec Center include: repainting walls, installing a fire alarm system, energy efficient lighting and repairs to the swimming pool gate and roof. "If we let that go for another 10 years, all of that wood would have to be replaced," Barr says, while looking at the roof.

The biggest upgrade will be installing an air conditioning system. "Our seniors have a really hard time using this facility in the summertime because it's just way too hot," Barr says.

Shaw says all the repairs will make his job a lot easier, but he's also hoping they will help his community. "The kids need something to do, a place to go to," Shaw says. "Let's just hope they're proud enough to keep it up the way it is."

Other Pima County rec centers receiving upgrades include:

Picture Rocks Community Center, Ajo Community Center, Drexel Heights Community Center, Continental Community Center, Aqua Caliente Community Center, Robles Junction Community Center, Thomas Jay Recreation Center and Elle Town Flowing Wells Community Center.

All upgrades should be completed by June 30.

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