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Lakes Area Recreation provides quality programming

The Alexandria varsity gymnastics team practices and holds meets in the new Lakes Area gymnastics Center.

Since 1990, Lakes Area Recreation (LAR) has provided a wide variety of recreational and family activities for people in Alexandria and the Douglas County area.

LAR is a public non-profit Joint Powers organization. The success of LAR is due to the continued demand for youth and adult programs, as well as the shared commitment from the city of Alexandria, School District 206, LaGrand Township and Alexandria Township.

Thirteen surrounding cities and townships also financially contribute to LAR, which helps keep youth fees affordable.

Facilities at the LAR Center located at 720 Fillmore Street in Alexandria include a cardio room with nautilus weight machines and elliptical machines, weight room, two gymnasiums, locker rooms and a multipurpose room.

Since opening in April of 1995 the LAR Center has had more than 760,000 participants walk through the doors for activities!

LAR is excited about the opening of the new Lakes Area Gymnastics Center at 1910 Aga Drive. This new 16,500-square-foot center was opened on January 3 of this year to help accommodate the demand for youth gymnastics.

Pre-school to competitive gymnastics classes are offered year-round and LAR has a competitive gymnastics team that competes in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The center is also the new home for the Alexandria high school gymnastic team and hosted four high school meets in January and February.

In the past 20 years, more than 157,000 youth registrations have been received. Youth activities include baseball/softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, dance, tennis, swimming, after-school programs and other activities.

Seven full-time staff members oversee the daily operations and coordinate all the programs. For the past 20 years more than 12,000 volunteers and 5,000 part-time employees have worked hard to provide quality youth programs.

The LAR board remains committed to turning no child or family away due to inability to pay for programs. In the past 20 years more than 9,300 scholarships have been awarded totaling more than $256,000.

More than 43,000 adult registrations were received in the past 20 years in the volleyball, softball and basketball programs. Registrations for the fitness programs at the LAR Center, Discovery pool and Arrowwood pool have exceeded 15,000 registrations.

Through the years these activities have helped participants to reach their fitness goals of living a more active and healthier life.

The programs offered by LAR would not be possible without the facilities use agreements between School District 206 and the city of Alexandria. Eight gymnasiums and 12 baseball/softball fields, 12 football/soccer fields and the Discovery Middle School pool are needed to offer the current programs.

LAR also provides lifeguards for L'Homme Dieu Beach and Latoka Beach every summer. The townships of Alexandria and LaGrand provide the funds to pay the lifeguards. Since the conception of this arrangement, there have been 32 full saves and 122 assists recorded.

LAR's staff and board of directors are excited to provide quality programs that meet the current and future needs of the residents in the lakes area.