Small changes and upgrades are making the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center a friendlier place for visitors, city officials say.
Late last month, bathroom doors and the doors leading to the pool deck got automatic openers, said Elaine Smith, the city's parks and recreation director.
Plus Covanta Energy provided nine recycling containers through a grant.
The $14 million facility was in compliance with federal laws on accessibility when it opened, Smith said. People using mobility scooters or carts or wheelchairs, however, found it difficult to get some of the doors open to the locker rooms with bathrooms and the pool deck.
The recreation center had received some good deals from contractors for fitness center improvements, Smith said. So the city had $6,500 left over from that project that was available for the automated openers.
A pleasant surprise came last month when Lottie Kelley, manager of the Covanta Energy office in Brooksville, contacted the city about a grant to provide recycling containers, Smith added.
Covanta provided nine of the sturdy metal containers. Smith said most of them were placed inside and outside of the rec center, with a few of them posted in Sims Park.
Also, volunteers from the Well Worship Center worked to improve the landscaping outside. The volunteer crew will return Oct. 20 to finish landscape maintenance as well as paint various sections of the recreation center.
With city staff strained because of budget cutbacks, help with chores from Well Worship Center was welcomed.
"We're very pleased that they have adopted our recreation and aquatic center," Smith said. "They're going to come out for another cleaning day on Oct. 20. And as you see they've already trimmed some of these bushes around the facility. They're going to continue to trim all the way around the pool area. They're also going to do a painting day, some inside and some outside the building."
The Well Worship Center is a new congregation in New Port Richey focusing on building community, faith and family. It has implemented "DWR (Doing What's Right) Project," its monthly community volunteer effort.
Each church member commits to giving 10 hours a month to volunteer work within a 10-mile radius of the church at its temporary location at Shalom Adonai, 6345 Massachusetts Ave.