Extended hours offer chance to stay in shape out of the heat

Additional two hours of open basketball court, track use on Wednesdays, Thursdays

For those who aren’t members of a nearby gym, finding a way to stay in shape during some of the more extreme temperature spikes can be a challenge —even if one has energy to burn off, the summer sun tends to burn more than just that.

St. Charles Parish has offered a potential solution to that particular problem for the time being. The parish has extended “free play” hours at the Edward Dufresne Community Center’s gymnasium, for anyone looking to get up a few shots on the basketball court or jog a few laps on the track, all while staying out of the heat.

The additional free play window will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays each week through August 29, leaving the gymnasium open to the public two additional hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days. The parish normally offers free play Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We know people want to shoot the basketball in a climate controlled facility since the heat has really turned up the last couple of weeks,” said parks and recreation director Duane Foret. “Free play gets those individuals active, which falls in line with some of our guiding principles in health and wellness.”

“We know people want to shoot the basketball in a climate controlled facility since the heat has really turned up the last couple of weeks.”— Duane Foret

Foret noted residents also utilize the center to walk or job around its indoor walking track, and the extension of free play extends the opportunity to do that as well.

The parish has extended free play in the past at different times of year, including during holiday seasons, and Foret said the response has been positive. The decision to do it during the summer this time around was to give a larger number of people a chance to utilize the center’s gymnasium.

Foret said the hope is the time slot brings in more people who may not have been able to take advantage of the gymnasium’s offerings during the typical 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. time slots because of their work schedule.

“That’s always been a focus of our Parish President,” Foret said of Larry Cochran. “Our community center is wonderful, and he’s always stressing the need to find new ways to utilize it and impact our community positively.”

Community center free play

  • Free play usage of the basketball court and indoor track at the Edward Dufresne Community Center will be open two additional hours during Wednesdays and Thursdays this summer, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
  • The parish offers free play at the center Monday through Thursday.
  • Summer extension intended to give residents a chance to beat the heat while staying in shape.


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