Cookeville Leisure Services: A look back at 2018
COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Leisure Services kept busy “making the good life better” in 2018.
Highlights for this city department – which maintains 10 parks and all city facilities, buildings and grounds – included 30 theatrical performances, 19 concerts, 10 movie nights, six museum exhibit openings, 12 youth camps, 771 athletic games, approximately 2,000 fitness classes and a host of other events, activities, classes, programs and workshops.
“The year 2018 was busy and bountiful, and we look forward to more great things in 2019,” Leisure Services Director Rick Woods said. “We love providing quality recreation and leisure time activities, events and facilities for our community.”
As for accomplishments, demolition and construction for Cookeville’s long-awaited skate park began at Park View Park. Also, the Cookeville History Museum was honored by the Tennessee Association of Museums, receiving its Past President’s Award for best of show.
At Dogwood Park, adjoining land was purchased for park expansion, and a host of LED snowflakes were added to the park’s musical Christmas tree and lampposts throughout the downtown area for the holiday season. Cane Creek Park saw the addition of three pollinator fields as well as kayaks, canoes and two new paddleboats, and its picnic shelters were repainted. A new adult kickball league was established at the Cane Creek SportsPlex.
People were aplenty in the city’s parks and facilities. Just over 127,500 vehicles drove through the entry gate at Cane Creek Park, and nearly 14,370 participated in group fitness classes at the Cane Creek Recreation Center. Estimated attendance at the Cane Creek Gymnasium was 41,178, while the Cane Creek SportsPlex saw around 19,275.
Plays, concerts and other events attracted approximately 22,600 audience members (not including performers) at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center. The Cookeville Depot Museum saw 12,681 visitors, while the Cookeville History Museum welcomed 5,127.
More than 500 children participated in spring, summer and fall recreation and athletic camps at the Cane Creek Recreation Center and Gymnasium. The Leisure Services School of Dance had 180 registered for 17 classes designed for ages 3 and up.
As for events and activities, the year kicked off with Fit Frenzy, drawing around 130 participants to sample free fitness classes at the Cane Creek Recreation Center, and the Cookeville Depot Museum’s monthly WestSide Scavenger Hunts in January, February and March, which averaged 50 to 100 scavengers per hunt.
CPAC’s award-winning Backstage Series produced three plays – “Noises Off” in January, “At Home at the Zoo” in March and “Scott and Hem” in August. More than 840 patrons attended 21 total shows. Father-Daughter Date Night catered to 1,500 guests on four nights in February at the Leslie Town Centre.
April was the month for Dogapalooza, a free event for dogs and the people who love them at Dogwood Park; World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, a day of free demonstrations at the Cane Creek Recreation Center; and a Family Treasures Preservation Workshop at the Cookeville History Museum. Storyfest in the Park (normally held at Dogwood Park) took place in May at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center.
The Cookeville Depot and Cookeville History Museum conducted six History Hikes on Broad Street between April and October. Free summer concerts were scheduled May through September at the Dogwood Performance Pavilion. They included four Third Thursday in the Park concerts, six Cookeville Community Band concerts, one 129th Army Band concert during Cookeville’s fourth annual Red, White and Boom Independence Day festivities, two Big Band Sound concerts and one Bryan Symphony Orchestra concert.
The summer months were also a time for free outdoor movies. Five were shown in June during After Dark Movies in the Park at Dogwood Park, and three were shown in July for Summer Cinema at the Cookeville Depot. In addition, more than 1,240 participated in SlideCkvl, a 1,000-foot waterslide on Broad Street during Red, White and Boom festivities.
In September, history came to life as several Cookeville City Cemetery “residents” shared their stories during the Cookeville Cemetery Walk. Theatrical arts continued into October during Shakespeare in the Park with “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Dogwood Performance Pavilion. October also saw a return of outdoor music and film with three Brown Bag Lunch Concerts and Boo, Y’all Halloween Cinema at the Cookeville Depot.
The holiday season kicked off in November with the Cookeville Community Band’s holiday concert at CPAC. December saw open houses at the Cookeville Depot and Cookeville History Museum, as well as numerous Christmas in the Park activities at Dogwood Park and CPAC, including a Tree-Lighting and Christmas Celebration Service, 13 days of carousel rides, six nights of Santa House, a night of horse-drawn carriage rides, Polar Express Family Movie Night and a Christmas concert.
The Cookeville History Museum’s six exhibit openings included “Collecting Cookeville” in January, “I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage” in March, “Kidville” in May, “WCTE-TV: 40 Years of Upper Cumberland PBS” in August, “Cookeville’s Great War” in October and “Christmas Forest” in December. Its traveling Pop-Up exhibit, “Cookeville Veteran: Bennett Travis,” appeared at CPAC, Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Putnam County Library, Tennessee Tech University’s Volpe Library and Cookeville High School. In addition, both the history museum and the depot hosted artists during Cookeville’s ART Prowl in November.
Cane Creek Recreation Center offered numerous classes and programs during the year, some of which included tai chi, photography, self-defense, composting, drumming circle, kitten yoga, belly dancing and various other dance workshops. It also hosted martial arts courses for TTU students.
Additional activities during the year included Train Tales for preschoolers every Friday morning at the Cookeville Depot, 11 film screenings at CPAC, additional fishing opportunities at Cane Creek Park through Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s winter trout stocking program and a Kids Fishing Derby in June by TTU’s Student Fisheries Association and TWRA, Elves on the Go holiday parties at local schools and daycare centers, Merry and Bright Holiday Home Challenge exterior decorating contest and Christmas Tour of Lights.
In athletics, Cane Creek SportsPlex hosted 16 baseball and softball tournaments that consisted of 221 youth and adult teams who played 437 total games. Most teams were from Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. Leisure Services’ spring and fall softball leagues – co-ed recreational, co-ed church and men’s – consisted of 29 total teams playing 266 games. The new kickball league attracted 12 teams who played 42 games.
At the Cane Creek Gymnasium, six five-on-five basketball teams played 26 games. The gym also hosted several high school basketball tournaments, with 369 players and 1,007 spectators, as well as a Jujitsu tournament with 60 participants plus spectators. Cane Creek Park was the site of a Professional Disc Golf Association tournament in September.
At CPAC – in addition to its Leisure Services productions – a number of other shows and events took place. Those included WCTE’s Great Auction, “Anne of Green Gables” by the Putnam and Jackson County Homeschoolers, “Sign of Love” by the Homeschool Dramatic Society, “Forever Abbey Road: Beatles Experience” by Hip Cookeville, “Seussical the Musical” by Cookeville Children’s Theatre and several dance recitals by Cookeville High School, Centre School of Dance, Livingston Dance Studio and Stage One Dance Studio.
“I truly appreciate all those who play a part in making our department strong and Cookeville a great place to be – from our supportive City Council and dedicated staff to the thousands of patrons and program participants who utilize our various facilities and services,” Woods said. “We continue to strive to enhance the quality of life in our community.”
For more information about Cookeville Leisure Services events and activities, call 931-520-4386 or visit www.cookeville-tn.gov/ls.