Family plans rec center in old Brodhead library
If you go
What: GoodTimes Rec Center
Where: 902 W. 2nd Ave., Brodhead.
When: The center will offer free admission for its grand opening from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Regular hours will be 12:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: Daily passes are $5; single monthly passes are $10 or $15 with a yearly commitment; family monthly memberships are $20 or $25 with a yearly commitment. Children in fifth grade and younger are welcome when accompanied by a parent.
BRODHEAD A Brodhead family is hoping to provide teens something to do when there's nothing to do.
Bob and Molly Hawkins plan to open GoodTimes Rec Center starting this weekend to give middle and high school students a safe, fun place to go in the city's old library building.
The center, 902 W. Second Ave., will be open seven days a week and will include games, concessions and eventually weekend events such as tournaments and karaoke.
Bob Hawkins' parents started a small rec center for kids in the small Tennessee town he grew up in, and it seemed to fit the bill, he said.
"We just liked the idea, so we thought we'd give it a try up here," he said.
Bob Hawkins said other available buildings in Brodhead were too small, but he found a good fit with the former library building—which has sat empty since 2009.
He worked out a six-month rental agreement with the city for the cost of utilities, insurance and maintenance, said city clerk/treasurer Roseann Meixelsperger. When the lease ends Oct. 31, "they will make a decision to buy it or just say the business didn't work," she said.
The Hawkinses and their four kids have been busy fixing up the vacant building—from filling walls full of holes that previously held bookshelves to applying 17 gallons of paint.
The family also replaced a lot of lights in the 3,700-square-foot building and put in a concession stand with plumbing. They plan to serve pizza, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, soda, candy and snacks. A party room also is available.
The center will have pool, air hockey and foosball tables, darts, arcade games, a big-screen TV and an Xbox with Kinect.
Admission will be through monthly or daily passes, though the center will be open for free during a grand opening event Saturday and Sunday. Students in sixth through 12th grade are welcome, and fifth-graders and younger can attend with a parent.
"I would love to see the parents in there as much as we can get them in there," Bob Hawkins said.
The Hawkinses have hired staff to run the center while they continue their full-time jobs, but they say they'll be there nights and weekends. Two adult staff members or one adult plus a hired junior or senior high school student will always be on duty, Bob Hawkins said.
The family hopes to have weekend tournaments and events such as open mic nights or a battle of local bands. They also want to get kids involved in planning activities by creating a committee to provide input.
"Ultimately, they're the ones that are going to have the great ideas that keep them interested in coming in," Bob Hawkins said.