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There is a benefit to being 60 or older in Bowman and Slope counties – at least if they like to use the facilities at the Rouzie Recreation Center.

“There is free use of our facility if you are 60 and over,” explained Chanell Walby, the director of the Rouzie Recreation Center in Bowman.

The special benefit for seniors has been in place for several years, she said. “The Council of Aging purchases memberships for seniors who live in Bowman and Slope counties. All you have to do is come to the front desk, and register as a member. You show your driver’s license as proof of age, and we confirm your address. ”

According to Walby, the rec center has had certain guidelines for capacity and usage brought about by the pandemic.

“(It is) 7:30 to 11 in the morning for seniors only. After 11 a.m., anybody can come.”

The senior can use the cardio machines like exercise bikes, elliptical machines and treadmills in the area next to the locker rooms and the entrance to the pool. Or there are the weight machines, free weights and an exercise bike positioned in front of a large television screen with access to YouTube bicycling videos.

“Some (seniors) are using the weight room where we have some new bikes. We are always trying to improve,” Walby said.

Improvements are also being planned for other portions of the facility, she added.

“We are going to add onto the north. We are excited about that,” she said, noting that the planning is getting started. “It is going to be more of a community use area and we are going to have a bigger lobby, a new entrance, a couple of offices. My (office) got built on the stage. We are going to take that down and I will move up front. We are going to have a kitchen concession area, so the concessions will open out to the lobby and then it would also open up into a multi-purpose room so it could be rented for like birthday parties. Eventually, some day, we could do congregate senior meals with a fully functioning kitchen along with a larger multi-purpose room where we could play like volleyball or pickle ball.

“We could also do dancing, tumbling and have after-school programs. And have a bigger cardio room,” Walby said. “The school uses our facilities for practices when we do not have our programs. We run basketball and volleyball. When we are using it, we can’t do any other programming. So, having another area is going to be very beneficial for the community.

“We could have a painting class. Or we could have whatever.

“We don’t have any classes yet, but we are hoping to bring in an instructor that focuses on programs like the Silver Sneakers, which is a program that some of our seniors belong to, so we could do exercise classes. Every time we add one of those we get money from that health program.

“It helps them and it helps us. It is a win-win for our counties,” she added.

The Senior Wellness Program has partnered with the Silver Sneakers and Healthy Contributions supplemental programs.

Although the center has pushes to increase the membership rolls, Walby thinks they probably need to add another person to help focus on marketing of the facility.

The facility is open from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The number for the facility is 701-440-0869.

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