ARKVILLE — A family with deep pockets, and deep roots in the area, celebrated their gift to the community with the grand opening of the Catskill Recreation Center on Saturday.
The $5 million facility houses two swimming pools and a gym. As the sun beat down during a brief welcome ceremony, audience members laughed and applauded as Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller said, “I can’t wait to jump out of this dress and into the pool.”
The center is a gift to the community from the Kingdon Gould Jr. family. Gould, 90, is a philanthropist and former U.S. Ambassador whose great-grandfather was Roxbury native Jay Gould.
In a speech Saturday, Gould said, “Our family has lived in the Catskill region since the 1800s. Our grandson, the 10th generation, is here today. We love this area and are happy to open this Recreation Center to the public as a way of giving back to the community.”
According to Gould, the center was designed to suit the needs of the region and its residents.
“The amenity of a swimming pool took priority in the plan,” Gould noted, who said he recalled swimming in ponds as a child. “I’m happy to see this community now has a safe place to swim, year-round.”
A 20,000-square foot section of the Recreation Center includes a six-lane Olympic-size pool. Nearby is a “zero-entrance” walk-in pool, which starts at just a few inches deep, allowing access to the pool without steps or ladders.
An adjacent 4,000-square-foot area is designated as the gym. Yoga, Pilates, spinning and other classes will be accessible to members. Exercise equipment will be installed within a few weeks.
Gould said he looks forward to many children receiving swimming instructions (lessons will begin July 6).
“The pool is also suitable for competitive swimming,” said Gould. “I hope to see in the near future competitive teams training and meeting here.”