The 1940’s and ’50’s: Ralph M. Spacht Founds the first Lititz Recreation Center
- February 1944: Ralph Spacht makes a gift of the former John M. Helman warehouse, located at Lititz Springs Park and Spruce Street, to be used as a “Community House.”
- February 24, 1944: Lititz Record Express – “I bought the building because I felt it would make an ideal Community Center and I want to turn it over to the community without any legal restrictions but with certain moral restrictions. I would to see such things as bowling and an ice cream bar in order that it can be self-sustained. I also would like it to be the center of a community youth program. No liquor and no gambling would be permitted – and those are the moral obligations. As for the details – they must be worked out – then I will make a gift of the building and do not intend to have any further say as to the manner in which it is run.” Ralph M. Spacht
- July 10, 1945: The newly refurbished warehouse is dedicated as “Lititz Recreation Center”. Richard Fleckenstein has designed a patriotic façade for the three-story framed structure, featuring a white building trimmed in red and blue. The distinctive building is captured in many paintings by Lancaster County artist Charles X. Carlson.
1960’s and ’70’s: A new and expanded recreation center for Lititz…
- June 30, 1959: Growing population, the increased availability of leisure time, and structural problems in the original building lead to plans for a new recreation center. Elmer H. Bobst, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, announces a gift of $125,000 toward a new community building.
- December 1959: The properties adjacent to the original recreation center are purchased – Charles and Norma Brown for $11,250 and the Lititz Springs Pretzel Co. for $5,200). All three buildings were razed to make room for construction of a new recreation center.
- June 23, 1960: A fund-drive for a new building is launched to raise $50,000, headed by Herbert Kraybill. Notable donations included:
- youth of the community donated $3,200, raised by holding dances and other functions
- A.B.C. Club held a Minstrel Show raising $1,750
- Girl Scouts held a rag collection
- Lititz Community Bowling League donated $15
- August 5, 1960: Groundbreaking for the $192,000 construction project begins.
- September 30, 1961: The new 11,000 sq. ft. “I Walton Bobst Community Center” is dedicated.
1980’s and 1990’s: Growing Into the Lititz Community Center
- 1984 – 1986: Growth in Lititz population and in the popularity of indoor sports and recreation leads to community surveys and plans to construct a 44,000 sq. ft. facility with an indoor pool.
- May 2, 1987: Groundbreaking for the $1.5 million “Lititz Community Center” building begins on land leased from Lititz Borough behind Warwick High School.
- June 21, 1989: A symbolic walk from the building at 21 North Spruce Street to the new building at 301 West Maple Street, concluded with a dedication service.
2000’s: Going Forward
- December 2005: Cherished recreational facilities within the Lititz Community Center are in great need of reinvestment and refurbishment. Plans are made to launch a $2 million renovation and expansion project.
- September 2006: The newly renovated “Lititz recCenter” is dedicated with the opening of a state-of-art Fitness Center.
- January 2010: Phase I of continued upgrades and expansion at Lititz recCenter results in doubling the size of the Fitness Center to 6,000 sq. feet in response to demands for personal training and fitness programming.
- September 2010: Phase II groundbreaking takes place for construction of a second Indoor Pool at Lititz recCenter.
- February 2011: The $ 2.5 million expansion is completed as one of the largest indoor aquatics recreation centers in Lancaster County, with an 8 lane Main Pool and a new Splash Pool with 4 lanes and a water play area.
- September 2011: The Main Indoor Pool is refurbished after 22 years of community enjoyment.
- January 2012: Splash Pool 1st Year Anniversry SPLASHTACULAR specials in February.
- September 2012: FOR THE FIRST TIME! Group, Aquatic, & Spin fitness classes now FREE with membership. Les Mills Body Pump class added to the Group Fitness offerings!
- October 2012: New Freedom Climbing wall added to the gymnasium.
- September 2012: 35th Annual Pretzel Twist, 5 Mile run, 5K Walk, and Kids Fun Run! Greta Wilson, daughter of Phares “Red” Wilson, ran in today’s race in honor of her father. “Red” was an avid runner and started the Pretzel Twist 35 years ago to bring runners in the community together and to help the Lititz recCenter. Honorary Chairman of this years event is State Representative, John C. Bear.
- March 2012: FOR THE FIRST TIME! Silver Sneakers Senior Insurance program accepted at LrC. This program offers seniors a membership at no cost!
- August 2012: 1st Annual LrC Round-Up campaign. This fundraiser brought together two dozen retail and restaurant partners throughout Lititz to raise nearly $8000 over two weeks to benefit the LrC Partnership program. Congratulations to this summer’s top-earning Round-Up partners, White Swan Restaurant and Greco’s! Special thanks to Susquehanna Bank, who served as a matching gift partner in the inaugural Round-Up campaign.
- November 2012: Second Annual Master’s Swim Meet held. Over 45 participants swam in the meet totaling over 100 races! Swimmers came from Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster County to have a friendly competitive swim. The age range was 20 years old to 71 years young. Swimmers were able to participate in up to 5 individual events plus relays.
- January 2013: 1st Winter Open House. Facility open to the community FREE. Membership special offered today!
- September 2013: New Preschool Academy begins. Open to all school districts, recCenter membership not required. This age appropriate educational program for 3-5 year olds will combine learning experiences and play in a fun and safe environment. Developing fine motor, gross motor and socialization skills are all part of this academic structured learning program. FUN FRIDAYS added to the New Preschool Academy. Extend the fun on Fridays. Optional add-on program includes a swimming lesson or kid-based fitness program and care until 3pm. Flexible, extended care available daily until 6 pm.
- June 2013: 3rd Annual recCenters of Lancaster County Rectric Century Bike Ride. This 72 mile premier ride begins at the Hempfield recCenter and takes route south of Lancaster to New Holland recCenter. From there riders will head northwest to the Ephrata recCenter then west to Lititz recCenter, with the final leg back to Hempfield. This beautiful ride, over rolling farmland is unique in that it loops the entire way around Lancaster. A 30 mile fun ride is offered and loops between Hempfield and Lititz. All riders are “Show & Go” from 7am-8:30am the day of the event. Cue sheets will be provided and all roads are fully marked. The ride benefits the recCenters of Lancaster County Youth and Adult programs.
- September 2013: The gymnasium ceiling is insulated and the splash pool is drained for cleaning and small maintenance issues. LrC is dedicated to maintaining the facility adding value to membership!
- September 2013: LrC participates in the Lancaster County “Thank A Vet’ program offering Veterans discounts on one year membership.
- January 2014: LrC turns 70! LrC Celebrates 70 years strong in 2014! LrC offers a variety of programs FREE to the community every month during 2014 to celebrate.
- April 2014: Plans to expand the footprint of the facility 20% are announced.
- May 2014: Become a member of the Legacy League. This year the 7th Annual Legacy League luncheon is Tuesday, May 27 at Moravian Manor in Steinman Hall. Congratulations to the following donors who are being inducted into the League on May 27: John & Deborah Ehleiter, Henry & Joan Gibbel, Jeff & Brenda Eshelman, and Jeff & Jane Tennis. While annual donations from community and businesses are critical to supporting day-to-day operations and programs, donations to the Ralph M. Spacht Founders fund are invested long-term. The interest generated is used to support future capital improvements at the LrC as well as special programs to benefit youth in the community. In addition contributions that are endowed by donors can be designated for certain purposes or benefits at the donor’s discretion. All types of contributions will ensure lasting support vital to sustaining the LrC into the future.
- Summer 2014: Outdoor pool memberships for the Lititz Springs Pool and the Manheim Borough Community Pool sold thru the LrC. Both pools will be managed by the LrC for the summer 2014 summer season.
- August 2014: Construction begins. Work includes land development beginning with the front entrance roadway being reworked. The front water basin will be filled in and the water retention area moved to behind the outdoor pool. Pervious pavement material will be used to add expanded parking to the LrC lot. This material is friendly to the environment, allowing water to pass through the surface and into the ground. Best of all, 100 parking spaces will be added! The building is expanding on the fitness side of the building adding 12,000 sf.