It’s not exactly true that “there’s nothing to do in Lexington,” but that snippet of suburban hyperbole is uttered often enough that an organized conversation around the mythical community center is kicking into high gear.
The Community Center Task Force was charged with determining the town’s appetite for a community center, someplace that would satisfy the social, intellectual and recreational needs of Lexingtonians of all ages.
Earlier this month, a survey went live on the town website that seeks input from locals about what they would want in a community center and whether respondents think such a place would bring value to the community.
“This is nothing new,” said Laura Hussong, chairwoman of the Community Center Task Force. “Anybody who grew up in the suburbs remembers how you had to make your own entertainment. I think we can do better by the kids with a little bit of vision to create something for everyone.”
The bulk of the survey’s pages ask whether various offerings and/or activities are a good idea for the Lexington Community Center, and whether respondents would be likely to participate. The offerings are grouped into social activities, physical fitness/recreational activities, arts programs and educational programs.
“We’re not just trying to find out what individuals want, but what’s good for Lexington,” said Hussong, “And that’s what we’re trying to get at with the dual questions.”
Collectively, the questions seek to gauge the town’s appetite for a multi-generational community center that would offer an indoor space for everything form an indoor walking track to parenting programs to a battle of the bands.
According to Hussong, the survey is very activities-oriented, but is only one part of the task force’s investigation. An ongoing conversation with the community has informed the survey’s questions, which collectively seek to provide a kind of drop-in, informal option to supplement highly scheduled lives.
“There are plenty of activities in town, but this would offer something different,” Hussong said. “I think people are looking for a deeper feeling of commitment or connection to the town, and the community center would offer that connection, where people can find other people and connect in an informal way.”
The survey was creeping up on 300 respondents two weeks ago and will be accepting responses through June 30. While only one component of the data the Community Center Task Force is compiling, the results are being monitored on a daily basis and will be a key component of the task force’s presentation to the Board of Selectmen in the fall.
So, with that in mind, we want to know, What’s important to you in a community center?