The original Recreation Center located at 605 Cocoa Avenue was dedicated in memory of Milton S. Hershey on October 20, 1963 by the Hershey Chocolate Corporation and operated by the MS Hershey Foundation. It was sold for $1 to the Township on September 13, 1979. The Township owned and operated the facility which has served as the hub for community recreation since that time. The Recreation Center turned 57 years old in 2020 and was showing its age in most areas of its infrastructure.
In October of 2014, a Stakeholder Committee was established to begin the process of planning for a new community center.
In 2015, consulting services commenced with the hiring of Ballard King & Associates to conduct a Market Analysis, community listening sessions and the establishment of a preliminary program for the facility based on the input collected.
In 2016, the firm of Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site was hired to provide the next phase of planning, which was the refinement of the building program and the development of the conceptual plan for the community center. After review and presentation of that plan, Kimmel Bogrette was then authorized to update the program and develop a schematic building plan for the project.
In May 2018, the Project Team made a Schematic Design Presentation to the Board which included floor plans, proposed exterior images and a cost estimate. The Board authorized the Team to move forward with Design Development. Since that time, the project has gone through a few variations as it relates to the facility program and size of the lap / competition pool. The final approved facility includes a 10 lane 25-yard lap / competition pool, a warm water indoor leisure pool, an outdoor community pool, senior center, teen center, full-sized gymnasium, fitness center and several multipurpose meeting/program rooms. The 90,000 sf. community center is slated to open in the Summer of 2022.
The operational projections for the new community center were presented at the April 21, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting. (The presentation begins at the 1 hour 20 min. mark)