Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights center opens for business


West Plains leaders and community members gathered on Thursday, May 1, to celebrate a historic Airway Heights achievement — the long-awaited completion of the city’s massive recreation center.

Following a ceremonial ribbon-cutting that included speeches from city officials and local political representatives, the center’s new staff kept busy signing up nearby residents for memberships.

Airway Heights Mayor Kevin Richey thanked the building’s architects and contractors, the City Council, and city Parks and Recreation Director J.C. Kennedy, who Richey said was the driving force behind the recreation centers creation and success.

“We have folks who have been working toward this for 18 years,” Richey said. “We couldn’t be more proud to bring this to the community.”

Leaders from the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians also spoke to attendees, praising local leaders for their vision for the facility and the community for approving its construction.

The facility includes separate areas for weights and cardio equipment, as well as a room specifically for fitness classes.

The swimming pool was one of the highlights of the new space, with young residents itching to climb on the play equipment and take a dip in the new lazy river. The facility includes a large lobby area with ping-pong and foosball tables that’s open to the public, plus a multipurpose room with a kitchen and outdoor seating that can be used as a banquet hall for events and community gatherings.

An emotional Kennedy thanked his staff for their hard work before the mayor performed the official ribbon cutting complete with oversized scissors.

The facility, located at 11405 W. Deno Road will be open from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Memberships can be purchased daily or monthly and range from $24 per month for a youth resident to $76 per month for a family of two adults and three children.

The recreation center opened for its first official day of business on Saturday, May 4. At the Monday, May 6 City Council meeting, Councilman Travis Bowman noted that recreation center staff had already signed up 600 memberships.

Shannen Talbot can be reached at


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