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The Activity and Recreation Center is a public health and fitness center owned and operated by the city of Columbia.
Address: 1701 W. Ash St.
The Activity and Recreation Center is a 73,000 square foot health club, fitness center and exercise place run by Columbia Parks and Recreation. The facility includes a 13,000 square foot pool, two full basketball courts, gymnasium, strength training equipment and weights, cardio equipment and an indoor track, according to its website. You can view ARC's hours of operation here.
The idea for the recreation center developed in July 1998 when Mayor Darwin Hindman appointed a committee to determine the indoor recreational needs of Columbia citizens. Funding was made possible by a 1/4 cent sales tax passed by Columbia voters in November 1999. A number of donors also contributed upwards of $631,000. Construction began in spring 2001, and the facility was dedicated Dec. 15, 2002. The ARC was completed at a cost of $9.1 million.
The city's plan for the ARC is for it to be self-sufficient and to rely on memberships and fees to avoid a tax burden upon citizens. In a Missourian article published days before the ARC's opening, Mike Hood, director of Parks and Recreation, said the center needed to sell 1,250 annual memberships and collect fees to support the annual operating costs of about $1.6 million.
Before the center opened Dec. 15, 2002, city officials emphasized the ARC was a gathering place for members of the community, including the Columbia Farmers' Market, which has been operating at the site before the center was even built. The center plays host to a number of meetings and gatherings, including a campaign event for Vice President Joe Biden during the 2008 presidential election.
ARC, city buses help some escape blizzard-induced boredom, February 2011 Missourian article
Columbia residents start Happy New U with fitness activities, January 2012 Missourian article
Updated: April 30, 2012