CRRC’s Popular Rec Center on Mabel Jones Drive Closes Without Warning, Employees Resign
The Community Resource & Recreation Center of Canyon Lake (CRRC) abruptly and without explanation shuttered its popular Rec Center on the Dam Access Road today, sparking heated criticism on Facebook and a fiery email from Comal County Pct. 4 Commissioner Jen Crownover, who called the closure “a travesty to our community.”
This reaction came on the heels of a cryptic post this morning on CRRC Recreation Center’s Facebook page that “administrative” changes led to the resignation of Recreation Director Andi Taliaferro and her assistant, Stephanie Gonzalez.
CRRC Executive Director Jason Derscheid confirmed in a phone interview this evening that Taliaferro resigned earlier this week but would only say that Gonzalez “is no longer with us.”
However, he said there is a lot of misinformation about the closure circling in the Canyon Lake community.
According to a statement issued by the CRRC tonight, the board decided to close the Rec Center due to “evolving” COVID-19 restrictions. The charity plans to use the time to make upgrades and repairs to its buildings.
Derscheid did not provide details about the planned work or the cost of the repairs, although he said there are electrical issues inside the Rec Center that must be resolved.
He said he has not spoken with Crownover, although a meeting is planned for Monday.
“We’re just trying to make sure everyone understands,” Derscheid said. “We’re going to try to open up again, but with the circumstances this is the best choice for us currently.”
In a statement, CRRC Board President Max Hosford said the rec and community centers are expected to reopen some time around March 1, 2021.
“This will give us an opportunity to provide the Canyon Lake area with safe, upgraded facilities that meet the needs of our growing community,” he said.
The statement also thanked Taliaferro for her service to the CRRC.
Crownover’s email to Derscheid and the CRRC, which she shared on Facebook, questioned the intent of the closure.
“The news I received ths morning is devastating,” she said. “The community of folks served by the Rec Center cannot be underestimated, from the youth programs to the senior programs, and everything in between. The CRRC Rec Center is one of the finest and most-beloved assets of the Canyon Lake community. I have always touted the fact that all the good in this community, in some form or fashion, has come by or through the CRRC in some way, and I truly believe that.”
She cited Taliaferro and Gonzalez’s efforts in doubling the basketball program and adding events like an Easter egg hunt, Family Fest, a back-to-school supply distribution program. The women also raised “significant” monies to replace the old playground.
“The classes and programs through the Rec Center touch over 200 folks a day and enhance the mental, physical and social health-and-wellness of our community in ways that can’t even be quantified, especially during these unprecedented times,” she said.
Sports fields at Hidden Valley Sports Park, which is operated by Comal County, are not affected by the closure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) owns the land on Mabel Jones Drive, across from Tye Preston Memorial Library, but leases it to the county. CRRC is a sub-lessee of the county. It only owns the rec and community center buildings.