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The Columbus Community Center will utilize an additional 2,400 square feet inside the Columbus Family Resource Center, creating space for more entertainment and exercise activities.

Julie Blum, The Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS — The Columbus Community Center is expanding its footprint and services.

Columbus City Council members approved a 10-year lease agreement last week that gives the center roughly 2,400 additional square feet inside the Columbus Family Resource Center at 3020 18th St.

“We’re needing the space,” said community center manager Cindy Branting, who has big plans for the extra room.

Half the space will be dedicated to wellness and exercise activities such as tai chi, yoga and any other suggestions that come from the senior citizens who frequent the center.

“Whatever activities the seniors come up and they want to be involved with, we’ll certainly look at,” said Branting, who mentioned dance lessons as another possibility.

Looking ahead, she said, the community center would like to purchase treadmills designed specifically for senior citizens for the exercise area.

“We will be doing some fundraising on that down the road,” she said, noting that the purchase would also require city council approval.

The new space will also be used for weight loss classes and other health-related programs.

On the entertainment side, the center will add a second pool table and move the billiards players from the “tiny room” they utilize now into the expanded area, which will have a lounge feel.

“This will allow us to have some tournaments and other fun things,” Branting said.

Movies, currently shown twice a month, will also be played in the new space, likely more often, according to Branting.

By relocating the exercise and entertainment areas, Branting said there will be more opportunities for programs utilizing the current community center space.

Columbus Community Foundation Inc., which owns the Family Resource Center, and the city are splitting the costs for the renovation work, with the city’s share not to exceed $17,000.

A wall will separate the exercise and entertainment areas once the project is complete.

Branting didn’t have an exact timeline for completion, but she hopes the space is ready once the new lease agreement kicks in Feb. 1.

“It’s going to be awesome when we get it,” she said.

A public open house will be scheduled at a later date.

Under the new agreement, the city will pay $8,750 per month to rent the community center space, with that amount increasing by 2 percent annually over the 10-year term. A $25,000 grant from Columbus Area United Way will be used to cover some of the costs in the first year.

The city took over the community center and senior services in July after Catholic Charities left town.

The senior center was operated by the city for years at its downtown location before an agreement with Catholic Charities moved it to the Family Resource Center in October 2013 and put the religious-based nonprofit in charge of day-to-day operations.

In addition to the various programs and activities offered, noon meals are also served at the center.

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Editor

Tyler Ellyson is editor of The Columbus Telegram.

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