“It had a great turnout,” said Norwalk Safety-service Director Dan Wendt, who orchestrated the event.
Wendt said the feedback people gave the department was just as good as the turnout, with both positive and constructive comments on the facilities, equipment, classes and other aspects of the center.
In particular, the forum focused on maintaining an aging facility which opened more than two decades ago.
“We were given this great gift by the Ernsthausens,” Wendt said.
There was originally some concern that the city wouldn’t be able to handle repairs on the center, but they have addressed problems creatively, the safety-service director said.
“Mary Church figured out how to find someone to repair one of the tanks,” he said.
Because they didn’t have to pay full price for repairs, they saved a significant amount.
It pays to keep an eye on things that are still in working condition too. Wendt said the department makes sure to check the different areas for wear and tear on the regular. For example, checking the tiles in the therapy pool makes sure none of them are loose or need replaced. There were some concerns from residents who encountered missing or loose tiles and wanted them taken care of.
Along with talking repairs, people at the forum discussed the importance of an aquatic facility for aging residents. Some people who use the center have done so for years and continue to do so into their golden years.
“There was a lady (who) said several months ago she was walking with a cane and, because of the therapy pool, she’s able to walk up the steps without a cane,” Wendt recalled.
He said he loves the sense of camaraderie between visitors and stressed the importance of “people being to age well and do exercise in a weight-free environment.”
Before taking on the role of safety-service director, Wendt worked as a lifeguard at the Ernsthausen Recreation Center.
“I was a lifeguard there from 2001 until like 2005,” he said. “There were some people there (who) have been coming every day since I was a lifeguard.”
The department will hold its next public forum at 7 p.m Aug. 4 at the Ernsthausen community room, 100 Republic St.
The topic will be “Designing Jaycee Park” and parents are highly encouraged to bring their children. The event will be interactive, with different park features and option design activities for everyone who comes.
Questions and comments on the forums can be directed to Dan Wendt at [email protected].com.