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Carlson Center to open play zone for children

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:48 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Carlson Center is preparing to open a play zone in its “prow” for children up to 8 years old.

According to Heather Jensen, Recreation Specialist III with the Carlson Center and Pioneer Park, “It’s just a place for people to come in.” She added, “Parents have to be accompanied with their child, and it’s just to kind of hang out and play. You can have play dates and all sorts of things.”

Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation Director Donnie Hayes explained, “This is Stage One in the opening of the Carlson Center as a community center.”

An opening day event will be held Saturday, November 6th. Hayes said, “We’re going to have some balloon animals. We’ll have an arts table.” The event will run from noon to 4:15 p.m. with a brief break from 2:00 to 2:15 p.m.

In the past, the center has hosted sporting events, conventions and concerts. These will continue, “and now we’re beginning to build the community center model, which starts with the play zone,” Hayes said.

According to Jensen, “When we did our Carlson Center survey, one of the number one requests was actually having an indoor playground because there’s not a lot of indoor spaces, since it gets so cold, for younger kids to come in and actually have play dates.”

When the play zone opens, 25 kids at a time will be allowed. Masks are strongly encouraged, and cost will be $4 per child for a two-hour session.

Hayes sees many more possibilities for the Carlson Center going forward. “We believe that the Carlson Center is going to be an integral part to recreation in the community. So, you want to do basketball? We hope that there will be some basketball happening here. You want to do some pickleball? Great. We’re expecting to do pickleball here. You want to be able to enjoy concerts or a comedy show? Great. Here’s a place to do that here, the Carlson Center. You want to hold a wedding, a birthday party, a retirement party? Great. Carlson Center is ready for you for that as well.”

The play zone will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

According to Hayes, the Carlson Center is also looking at programming for seniors, dance classes, and an indoor playground in the future.

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