ARC, city buses help some escape blizzard-induced boredom

Thursday, February 3, 2011 | 4:21 p.m. CST; updated 7:29 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 3, 2011
A woman wades in the lazy river on Thursday at Columbia's Activity & Recreation Center. The ARC provides open swim hours each afternoon and the pool is open until 9 p.m.

COLUMBIA — The reopening of the Activity and Recreation Center and city buses' return to service liberated scores of Columbians from being cooped up in their homes in the wake of this week's blizzard.

At the ARC, Heidi Weideman, 17, her younger brother, Alex Weideman, 11, and their friend, Stephen Nicholas, 11, were shooting hoops.

For more information

For more information about Columbia’s Activity and Recreation Center call 874-7700.

For more bus-route information, call the Wabash Station at 874-7282. You can also get updates about the bus service on Twitter (columbia_mo_bus) or Facebook (Columbia Transit).

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“The cabin fever was getting to be too much for us," Heidi said. "You can only play so much Nintendo Wii."

The Weidemans have been stuck at home for the past two days, and the ARC also was closed during that time.

“We built an igloo, but still need to go sledding," Alex said. "Today we just came to the ARC to play basketball."

More than a dozen people were swimming at the ARC's pool Thursday morning. Others took advantage of cardiovascular and weight training equipment as well as a day care center that was open from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We have noticed a slight elevation in today’s attendance compared to the average Thursday afternoon,” ARC administrative supervisor Joan Smith said, surmising that the increase was due to people craving the opportunity to get out of their homes.

The hustle and bustle was back in the Wabash Station as Columbia Transit opened its doors and revved up its buses Thursday morning after a two-day hiatus.

Leon Stapleton, who rides the 104 Red West Loop bus, was relieved that the buses were up and running again. Stapleton, who lives west of downtown, was snowed in for the past two days. 

“Without the buses, the farthest I could go was the convenience store a block from my house for anything I needed,” Stapleton said.

Columbia Transit driver Beau Lipham has been unable to work since Tuesday because of the blizzard making campus roads impossible to navigate.

“Hopefully the campus roads will be clear enough for me to work tomorrow,” Lipham said Thursday morning.

On Thursday afternoon, Columbia Transit announced that it would resume its regular schedule, including all campus shuttles and the 209 Black and 207/208 Gold routes. Transportation Supervisor Drew Brooks, however, said in a news release that he expects some delays during peak hours.

On Thursday, the buses were operating on a Weather Emergency Schedule, in which buses leave scheduled time points every half hour and depart from the Wabash Station every hour. The buses were following their regular routes unless roads were  impassable.

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