Art part of new atmosphere at Hampton Community Center

Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Art created by local residents decorates the walls at the Hampton Township Community Center as part of a new program there.

The current artist’s work is hanging near the fireplace in the sitting area of the main floor and will be on display until mid-March, after which a new artist will be featured, according to Kevin Flannery, director of community services for Hampton Township.

This is just one of the newest features being introduced to the facility located on McCully Road and part of an effort to create a new look and feeling for the community center, said Hampton Township Council President Mike Peters.

“The Community Center is the virtual town center of Hampton. As such we, council and staff, have recognized the importance of upgrades to the center and the push to making it a true community meeting place,” said Peters.

Flannery said they’ve gotten a good response to the idea.

“Everyone is reacting well to it,” said Flannery.

There are other new features at the center including the newly installed, self-serve food kiosk on the main level, designed to serve the community center patrons and the entire township campus. It features breakfast sandwiches, meals, healthy snacks, cereal, soups and sandwiches, vitamin drinks, juices, sodas, iced tea, coffee, espresso, teas and hot chocolate, salads, ice cream, nutrition bars, according to Flannery.

He said additions like this help make the township facility more comfortable and friendly to visit and use.

“This is not just a gym. This is a community center,” he said.

He said they would like it to have a hotel-type of atmosphere.

To achieve this, additional furniture has been added and more will be coming to replace older styles there, said Flannery. They recently installed high-top and low-boy tables near the food area, as well as some different furniture to the center. He said they will be putting in a new carpet and Hampton Township sign to the middle open area of the main level. Enhancements will be continuing over the next several months, said Flannery.

There is a fitness level on the mezzanine area, as well as basketball courts on the main level. The community center also features a sitting area with a fireplace, adult lounge, youth lounge, great rooms, and the township community library. In fact, the Hampton Community Center is open to all and available for renting, according to the township website.

Flannery said two artists have already been featured at the center and they are looking for three more to fill out the rest of the year. Artists are displayed for approximately two months. He said any artist who is interested is welcomed to contact the Community Center regarding displaying their work.

Flannery started last year after the former director retired, joining an experienced team at the community services department.

Chris Lochner, municipal manager for Hampton Township, said Flannery has “done an excellent job of grasping our intention of trying to make the community center more of a community-oriented building, not just the building for recreation programs. He, (program coordinator) Melanie Martino and all the staff have done an excellent job working together to come up with new and better ways to market and make the center available to the community.”

Hampton Township Council President Mike Peters agreed.

“Kevin and all of his staff have done an excellent job in creating a much friendlier and more welcoming atmosphere at the Community Center,” said Peters.

Lochner added that Flannery “walks the talk when it comes promoting public/customer service and he works at it each and every day.”