ENGLEWOOD — Anthony Michaud and his daughter Cassidy frequent Englewood’s Tringali Recreation Center, 3460 N. Access Road, Friday nights to skate, but Cassidy is more excited by the latest attraction.
Charlotte County Parks and Recreation is hoping kids will be scaling new heights after unveiling Tringali’s new indoor rock-climbing wall Wednesday.
“Cassidy was excited to check out the wall and see what’s going on,” Anthony said.
There were 70 people on hand to see the 8-foot-by-72-foot rockclimbing wall and check out organizations like Kids Creating Change, D.A.R.E, the Juvenile Justice Unit and the Girl Scouts. Four of the five Charlotte County commissioners — Ken Doherty, Christopher Constance, Bill Truex and Stephen R. Deutsch — were there for the ribbon-cutting.
The wall is part of an ongoing rejuvenation project at Tringali.
“This is the culmination of the work to put this all together,” Scott said. “We’re introducing it to the community because they’ve never seen anything like this. We just did a tremendous amount of work putting in four brand-new tennis courts that are in there. We’ll be redoing the floor surface in the gym. We just added the library and archive next door. We repainted the outside. We redid the parking lot. We put in brand new landscaping to make this a real jewel of the county. So it’s an ongoing process.”
Deutsch said he’s seen a lot over the years at Tringali.
“I think it’s neat,” Deutsch said. “It’s important that we’re here to support the kids in the community. Charlotte County is more about people than stuff. I think we’re staying contemporary. We have to be flexible. I think it’s the kind of thing kids want. This facility is an integral part of the community. I’ve seen tons of kids over here over the years.”
Doherty said the wall is another example of the county’s commitment to its community.
“It’s a quality of life,” Doherty said. “It fits into the economic development quality of life; basically showing that we’re committed to all facets of our community. We’re in pretty good shape from an inventory and service standpoint, when it comes to how many tennis courts or how much park land we have. There was a good effort over the years to get ahead of the curve over these things. We’ve (had) a static growth pattern over this for years. Now as things begin to pick up again, we’re going to need to revisit all that and make sure we’re still on track. I think we’re in good shape.”
Rotonda resident Ashley Ewing has been coming to Tringali since she was a child and now shares the experience with her son, Jacob.
“My son is very excited,” Ewing said. “There’s been much more activities added (since I’ve starting going). I did the Friday night skate here. Now they have more activities, like they have the Fish-a-thon and the minisports.”
Young community leaders recognized
Wednesday evening at Tringali also included a reception to present the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards to three students, two from L.A. Ainger Middle School and one from Lemon Bay High School.
“Staff has been working for a few months to put this together,” said Tommy Scott, director of community services in Charlotte County. “We’re also handing out awards to three deserving teens for their service that they have done in the community.”
The winners were brothers Clayton and Nicholas Crawford, and Caitlyn Lovelace — all members of Kids Creating Change. The group organizes fundraisers, collections and events.
“We’re a group of kids out to make a positive difference in the community,” Lovelace said.
Clayton, 13, and Caitlyn, 12, are seventh graders at Ainger.
“I really feel honored for getting this award. This group has made me a better person,” Clayton said. “When I finish high school, hopefully I can join the Marines. I may open my own blacksmith shop.”
Nicholas, 15, is a freshman at LBHS.
“Working with this group is a life-changing experience,” he said.
Constance, commission chairman, presented the awards.
“I think it’s wonderful to see (for) kids in our community that volunteerism is so important,” Constance said. “Giving yourself to better your fellow man, really is first and foremost, and makes our community a better place to live.”