Preston Manor rec center aims for September opening
The walls are painted, the flooring is in. Furniture and exercise equipment have been ordered.
Fireplaces, inside and out, are waiting for toasty fires to be lit. The pools — three of them — have not yet been filled, but the water will be gushing in soon.
After years of waiting, Preston Manor residents are growing excited: the 7,000-square-foot recreation center is almost ready to open, with developers projecting an opening date of Sept. 1.
Sue Lynn, a resident in Preston Manor who remembers when it was a Parade of Homes area in 2005, said the rec center was the main draw for people who built homes in the area and moved out there.
The original plans for the rec center more than five years ago proposed it would be one of the largest in the country at that time at 117,000 square feet.
Even though the center has lost considerable square footage, Lynn said she and her neighbors are eagerly anticipating its opening.
“Everything that we’ve seen them do over there has been so nice. I don’t think they’ve spared expenses,” Lynn said. “It’s going to be one of the nicest places in the entire area.”
Lynn said just this week, she and her husband dropped their gym membership in Lubbock in anticipation of the recreation center opening.
“We just feel like it’s not going to be long,” Lynn said.
Joe Goggans, an asset manager with United Development Funding, was in Wolfforth working last week on coordinating deliveries of furnishings for the recreation center.
Residents are not the only people excited about the new facility. Goggans and Virginia Brown, the center’s director of operations, said they are both anticipating the opening.
“We’re excited to finally get something to come to fruition down here,” Goggans said. “We made a lot of promises five or six years ago. … I think people were reluctant to think things would come to fruition. So we’re excited that we’ve done all this. We’ve made promises and we’ve carried through.”
History of the center
The company that originally started building the 400-lot subdivision fell into default on a $10.8 million secured promissory note more than five years ago.
United Development Funding assumed ownership of Preston Manor. Goggans has told residents and Wolfforth city leaders for years that UDF would go ahead and build a recreation center, albeit a smaller one, in order to entice people to build in the Preston Manor area.
UDF worked with the Wolfforth City Council to create a public improvement district for Preston Manor residents. Those residents will be assessed $1,500 toward the construction of the recreation center, which will be signed over to the city after it is completed.
The recreation center will be available to anyone, but it will require a family membership fee of $160 per month, according to Brown. Those families who are paying the PID assessment in Preston Manor will be members automatically without a monthly fee, Brown said.
Individual memberships will also be available, she said.
Brown said she will be passing out fliers to residents of nearby subdivisions who might want to be members as well.
“We might get 200 memberships right off, and I think I can do that. There’s been a lot of curiousity about it,” she said of her immediate goals.
Members will have access to the fitness center, the nine tennis courts, gazebos, space for receptions and three pools, including a lap pool and child’s wading pool.
Brown and Dave Trebisky, director of programming, are already planning classes and activities at the recreation center, including classes on beginning sports skills for preschoolers and scuba lessons for adults. They also hope to someday host teen nights.
“We want to cater to the whole family,” Brown said.
Once the restaurant opens, Brown said it will be open to non-members.
Restaurant to come
Goggans said the restaurant will be fully furnished by the opening date of Sept. 1, but he said it may take longer to find a person to start that business.
“We’ve had numerous people come to us and say, ‘We’d love to run that restaurant for you,’ ” Goggans said.
But he said UDF has talked to many Lubbock restaurateurs who he said told him the wrong concept could poison the facility for its life. He said he wants to make sure the restaurant gets the best possible start.
“That restaurant may not open for a month — or two, or three, or four — until we get that right person to run it. And I think when we get that in here, it’ll be just like a miniature country club, you just won’t be able to play golf,” Goggans said.
“Experience has already shown us that patience is paying off in Preston Manor,” he said.
Goggans said UDF has been patient on promoting Preston Manor lots because he and others involved realized that growth would likely only come if the recreation center were finished.
“There were originally 438 lots in here,” Goggans said. “There’s 32 homes being lived in here now, and I think there’s about eight or nine houses that are under construction.”
Goggans said UDF owns 332 lots, has sold five lots and has 100 under contract.
The subdivision still has strict requirements for construction. Goggans said homes are required to be a minimum of 2,500 square feet in size and to feature certain architectural features such as a percentage of masonry or setbacks.
“Everything that’s being built out here has to be approved by us,” Goggans said, noting he is the president of the Preston Manor architectural review committee.
Further selling points of the subdivision include the availability of Wolfforth city services, the Frenship school district and easy access to Lubbock jobs, the airport and health care, Goggans said.
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