More fun for all

More fun for all

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Joey Fitzpatrick

Friday evening is a busy time at the Zatzman Sportsplex. Everyone age 12 to 17 can use the Sportsplex for free each Friday after 7 p.m.

“We call it Teen Takeover, although we are still open to regular members and day pass users,” says Elizabeth O’Hanley, Marketing, Communications and Community Development Co-ordinator with the Zatzman Sportsplex. “It was identified as an issue in the community that there was nothing for teens to do on Friday nights.”

On a recent Friday evening more than 200 teenagers made use of the pool, gymnasium, fitness studios, running track, weight room and a board games room.

The Teen Takeovers are made possible by a $750,000 donation from the Zatzman family to provide enhanced community access to the facility in a number of areas. The running track is now open at no cost each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There is also a free fitness class each Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Joseph Zatzman’s son Michael made the donation on behalf of the family. Community involvement has long been synonymous with the Zatzman name. Joseph Zatzman was just 22-years-old when he opened a small grocery store on the corner of Victoria Road and Portland Street in Dartmouth. The year was 1934, the midst of the Great Depression, an era when fortune did not smile kindly on new entrepreneurial ventures. But Joseph Zatzman persevered. Putting in long hours backed by fierce determination, he built both a successful store and a place in the community.

As his reputation grew, Dartmouth citizens began encouraging Zatzman to take on greater leadership roles in the community. He went on to serve on numerous boards of directors and committees that helped Dartmouth become the thriving community it is today. He also served as councilman and then mayor of the former city of Dartmouth. Zatzman is perhaps best known as the visionary behind the creation of the Burnside Industrial Park, the largest business park in Atlantic Canada.

As a place to learn and grow, to be active and to interact with other community members, the Sportsplex fits perfectly with the Zatzman vision. The renaming was announced in January of this year, and the facility was officially reopened the following month.

The Zatzman Sportsplex now includes a new double gymnasium, a fitness centre overlooking Wyse Road and new pool attractions. Entering the premises is now simpler, as the main entrance provides access to all of the facilities.

“You just swipe your membership card or go to the welcome desk and pay for your day pass, and once you’re in the building you have access to everything,” O’Hanley says.

Fitness classes are drop-in, and schedules on the website are updated daily. The brand new cardio equipment in the weight room is exclusively Precor. The Precor brand is an industry leader in developing equipment focused on ergonomic motion, proven science and superior engineering. The squash and racquetball courts have been refurbished with new paint and new floors.

Services are in place to enhance the membership experience. A new cafeteria
will be opened this summer by The Kitchen Door, the innovative catering company based in Dartmouth Crossing. A child-minding service is available seven days a week for infants up to age 12, and is included in the price of a family membership. For those with adult memberships the service can be purchased on a daily basis.

The pool area now has equipment to assist those with mobility issues. The small pool has been redesigned to include a wheelchair ramp, while the large pool now has a poolpod, an elevator-like device that raises and lowers users to and from the pool. The lift is sensor-activated with a bracelet and is available to all.

“The life guard can show you how
to use the first time, and after you’ve used it once it’s pretty easy,” O’Hanley says. “You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to use it. It’s open to anyone who doesn’t want to climb down the ladder because of mobility challenges.”

There is also a new waterslide and
a new hot tub.

“The new waterslide ends in its own shallow pool, so you don’t have to be able to swim to go down that slide,” O’Hanley explains. “The smaller kids love it because they don’t have to get dunked in the deep end.”

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