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February 12. 2013 8:03PM

Kiwanis essay contest offers free passes to Claremont community center

CLAREMONT - With the grand opening of the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center fast approaching, the Kiwanis Club of Claremont has announced it is holding an essay contest to award 10 local students one-year memberships.

The new community center is holding its grand opening Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to attend the 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting, recreation director Scott Hausler said Tuesday.

"It's a great time for the community, and we're very excited about it," Hausler said.

The new community center is replacing the Goodwin Community Center, which has buildings built in the 1800s, 1950s and 1970s, all of which are outdated and in need of major renovations.

The community center also has a game room, aerobics room, gymnasium, elevated three-lane jogging track, and an 8-lane, 25-yard pool.

The recreation department has already sold about 500 memberships to the new center, Hausler said.

Annual memberships for Claremont residents are $120 for youth and seniors, $150 for individuals and $300 for families of up to four people, additional family members can be added on for $75 each. Membership prices go up 25 percent for nonresidents.

A day pass is $3 for youth and seniors, and $5 for individuals.

Nonresident day passes cost $5 for youth and seniors, and $7 for adults.

People who purchase memberships before the grand opening get 10 percent off, he said.

Annual membership payments can be spread out over the year to make it more manageable for people.

Hausler said one of the exciting aspects of the center is that it is both membership and city supported, so membership costs are affordable for most people.

Kiwanis member Jennifer Thompson of Claremont said the essay contest is open to all public, private and home-schooled students in grades sixth through 12th who are 18 and under and living in the SAU 6 School District, which includes Claremont, Cornish and Unity.

The students have to answer three questions in their essay, she said: "How will the new Claremont Savings Bank Community Center help me? How will I use the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center? Why should I be awarded a one-year membership?"

"They need to write about all three," Thompson said.

The essay contest fits in with the Kiwanis Club of Claremont focus, which is to raise money to benefit children and families living in the greater Claremont area, she said.

Thompson said she sees the center not only as a recreational resource for area residents but part of the city's ongoing revitalization efforts.

"I think it's fantastic. I think it's not only going to be a benefit to the community, but hopefully it would be an attraction to families thinking of moving into the area," Thompson said.

Essays are being accepted from Feb. 15 to March 8 through the mail at Kiwanis Club of Claremont, P.O. Box 615, Claremont NH 03743.

Winners will be notified on March 15.

Applicants need to include their name, address, phone number, age, grade and school.

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