SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners approved two measures designed to improve the health of county employees this week.
On Tuesday the commissioners agreed to ban the use of e-cigarettes, essentially any type of electronic delivery device like vaporizers, within county buildings. They also voted unanimously to provide county employees with free access to the new fitness center at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill.
“I’m personally thrilled for the new addition,” said Stacey Norton, the county’s human resources director. “I know I plan on using this. Speaking with our employees, there’s a lot of interest. In accordance with our wellness plan, I think it’s important we provide opportunities for our employees to utilize this service.”
Norton said many employees had expressed interest in the new fitness room that is the highlight of the 6,000-square-foot addition to the county’s recreation center. She said if employees were given free access to the room, interest might increase in the array of health-related programs offered at the recreation center.
Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw agreed that offering employees free access would benefit the county, particularly if it led to healthier employees.
“It could be a cost savings to us,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Bunting agreed.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners were treated to a tour of the recently completed addition. The added space brings the recreation center rooms for aerobics, fitness and after-school care. It also provides a hallway to serve as a buffer between the facility’s track and its outdoor exit so users don’t have to go straight outside upon leaving the track.
“The kids love it,” said Paige Hurley, the county’s recreation and parks director.
The new fitness room features large windows on one side and a retractable wall on the other, so it can be opened to include the aerobics room. It’s accessible by key card, so recreation center staff can monitor the number of people using the room at any given time.
Several state-of-the-art fitness machines, including a rowing machine, treadmills and a recumbent trainer, among others, are already in place.
Hurley says the facility will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. While county employees will be able to use it for free, community members can purchase memberships. A one-year membership for the room will cost $85, while a three-month membership will cost $25. Anyone can use the room for a daily drop-in fee of $3.
The $1.3 million addition to the county’s recreation center is the first major expansion the facility has undergone since it was built in 2005. Roughly 90 percent of the cost of the project will be reimbursed with Program Open Space funds from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.