Concerns raised by a citizens' group in the Laurel-Beltsville area about a proposed gymnastics center at Fairland Regional Park have prompted Prince George's County park and planning officials to delay approval of the $1.7 million facility until after a public hearing Monday.
The hearing, the third in recent months on the facility, comes after opponents raised questions at a meeting of the county planning board last month about how the decision to build the center was made.
The opponents presented the commission with a petition, signed by more than 700 people, saying that residents of the northern county would prefer an indoor pool.
The proposed gym would be open to the public but would also serve as a class facility for the 250-member Prince George's Gymnastics Club, which has a waiting list. Club members now attend daily classes at a former warehouse in Beltsville.
Funds for the center were approved in May after little deliberation by the Prince George's County Council. A park and planning commission spokesman said planning officials knew of no opposition until questions were raised at a hearing in June.
The center, to be built at 13800 Gunpowder Rd., Laurel, would include a large room with stationary gymnastics equipment, a weight training room, a jacuzzi, two racquetball courts, five tennis courts, a pro shop and offices.
There are no permanent public gymnastics centers in the county, said park and planning spokesman Robert Reed.
There are two public indoor pools, he said, one in Glenarden, the other near Camp Springs. It would cost about $3 million to build an indoor pool comparable to those facilities, Reed said.
If the gymnastics center is approved by the planning board at Monday's hearing, construction could begin immediately and be completed in 18 months, Reed said. If it is decided that a swimming pool should be built, he said, construction could not begin until funds for the facility are approved by the County Council.
The hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Park and Recreation Administration Building, 6600 Kenilworth Ave., Riverdale. Anyone interested in registering to speak should call 699-2526.