Community Center Spices Up Life in Garrett

By Eric Olson

January 30, 2011 Updated Jan 30, 2011 at 9:53 PM EDT

GARRETT, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Time has not been generous with Garrett Indiana. Not very long ago this was the town that never slept…a railroad town, busy 24-7. Six thousand residents, three all night restaurants on Randolph Street alone. When the railroads heyday passed Garrett slipped into decline, but folks here keep trying…a new art museum has opened up…and down the road by the high school, a real triumph for those who still believe in this town.

Pat: the whole town seems to have come together. When you meet each other in the grocery store they say ‘are you going to the community center today?’

Welcome to the Judy A. Morrill recreation center, a brick and mortar vote of public confidence in Garrett’s future. Three and a half million dollars were raised locally to build it and nearly everyone chipped in.

Sue: The donations ranged from five dollars on up to over a million dollars, so there’s just been many people coming together, working together for a lot of years to make this possible.

This used to be a YMCA. The ‘y’ departed in November and two weeks ago the building reopened as a community center with pool, gymnasium, workout room, daycare…and more than one hundred volunteers stepping up to run it.

Pat: And they all call and say ‘when do i get to work’ so it’s really exciting. Everybody that walks in the door is greeted by a volunteer and ‘can we help you’, ‘can we show you around?’

The center has sold two hundred memberships since it opened, about half the number needed to keep the place in the black. Not bad for two weeks work. And not bad for a town many folks wrote off when the railroad shops left…proving that Garrett Indiana has every intention of chugging along. Eric Olson, out in Your Country.




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