Snyder center marks first anniversary

An average of 125 people a day have been using the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center since the west Biloxi center opened a year ago this month, and thousands more have been in the facility for special events such as family reunions or wedding receptions.

The $4.2 million, 43,000-square-foot facility features a gymnasium with a wooden floor, which will also be used for carnival balls; a swimming pool with four lap lanes of 25 yards each, with a therapeutic pool nearby; two indoor racquetball courts; an indoor walking track that overlooks the basketball court; a fitness room with stationary and free weights; and second-floor meeting rooms for such activities as karate, aerobics, arts and crafts, and senior activities.

Attendance figures show that 32,492 people signed in during the past 11 months, including 6,693 who used the facility’s lap pool. The daily sign-in sheets do not show attendance for special events, nor do they include attendance for city-sponsored affairs at the Pass Road center.

For instance, more than 200 people and 28 vendors were expected to attend the Harrison County Development Commission’s “Senior Celebration” Picnic and Expo at the facility today, and several hundred students are expected at the Biloxi High Prom later this month.

“We’re quite pleased with the use of the facility, and I think more and more people are going to be using it in the future,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway. “And even though it’s in west Biloxi, people throughout the city are using the facility.”

Although it is open to all ages, the Snyder center hosts several programs geared for seniors – twice-monthly luncheons, crafts session and dances, and a monthly field trip for older Americans. About 70 seniors attend each luncheon, and about two dozen participate in the crafts and dance sessions.

The center, named for longtime Biloxi Recreation Director Don Snyder, also has table games, basketball, special events and field trips for children; meeting rooms for community groups; challenger racquetball each Tuesday night; adult basketball; and a cushioned walking track wrapping the second floor.

The Snyder center is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pool is open every weekday from 2 to 7 p.m., and from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is also open Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

No admission fee is charged to enter the facility, but there is a $1 per person fee to use the pool and a small fee for racquetball. Details: 436-5191.