TOWNSEND — After sitting empty for more than two years, an old car dealership on Highway 287 near Townsend is getting new life. Heidi Bingham, a Townsend resident, is working to turn the space into a community center.
“We plan on having basketball courts, indoor soccer, pickle ball, volley ball, hockey would be awesome,” Bingham said.
She has big goals for the empty building, and has spent the last few weeks working to make them happen. Bingham explained she envisions a space for people of all ages. She hopes to have a gym, sports fields, and one day offer fitness and dance classes.
The future Townsend Recreation and Community Center—or the TRAC for short—is a 13-thousand square foot space, on 17 acres of land just outside of downtown Townsend. Bingham has been working to clear and clean out the space, and she hasn’t been alone.
“Every day I get a call from somebody,” Bingham said. “It’s such a blessing, it doesn’t even usually take until 8 o’clock in the morning that somebody’s like ‘I want to help!’”
After being stuck inside and apart because of COVID-19, Bingham said she thinks a community center is just what Townsend needs—a place to gather after the pandemic is over, somewhere to get out of the cold and get active.
“This winter has been hard,” Bingham said. “I didn’t have a lot of isolation with my other job and stuff going full-time, (but) I know a lot of other people were kept at home and stuff.”
There is a long way to go to make Bingham’s vision a reality—there’s still furniture and equipment from the former dealership inside the building, and the large garage Bingham hopes to turn into a gym still has a concrete floor and drain running through the middle.
Despite the obstacles, Bingham said she is up for the challenge.
“It’s going to open, it’s just how long it’s going to take because of funding,” Bingham said.
Funding is needed. According to a GoFundMe page for the project, they are looking to raise $75,000, and Bingham said they could probably use more than that. She said she has been writing to get grant money for the project.
“We will use whatever we have to the best of its ability, and do what we can with what we have,” Bingham said.
Bingham is working to put together a board of directors to help with the TRAC project. For more information, check out the TRAC’s Facebook page.