Centennial Puts Focus On Family

May 20, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Words like “cabana” aren’t heard often in West Michigan, but as Centennial Country Club finishes its approximately $500,000 renovation, such words can feel right at home.

The goal of the renovations, being done by Pioneer Construction, is to attract new members and become more family-friendly. The work includes a makeover of the main building, dining room, deck, kids play area, and, most notably the pool area.

“It’s your resort right here in Grand Rapids,” said Ken DeVries, the club’s general manager. “When you look out there at the cabana and the pool area, that’ exactly the look we wanted. It almost looks like a resort setting, and we wanted the mothers to feel like they were at a resort.”

DeVries said that a lot of activity happens around the pool, and many people come out to support the club’s swim team, which competes against other organizations in the area.

“It’s really nice on swim meet nights, so we opened (the pool area) up so it’s a lot easier for spectators,” he said. “There’s a lot more room for mothers; while their children are swimming, they can just lounge in the sun or we’ve got cabanas out there if they want to be in the shade or have younger children. It’s all Wi-Fi hot out there, so if they’ve got some things they’ve got to do, they can kind of mix business with pleasure.”

The club has added a pool membership to its offerings for those who only want the benefits of the pool.

Centennial has hired an activity director, Carly Fritsch, a recent University of Michigan graduate who had been working as the swim team coach. DeVries plans to add a lot more kids activities, including basketball games and sand volleyball, and said each day will have different activities for different age groups. He noted that the basketball courts have adjustable hoop-heights “so even the little guys can have a good shot at enjoying the game.”

“I’m really pushing on the fact that I want them to be physical activities: relay races, dodge-ball, jump rope contests — anything that’s going to get those kids active and not just sitting there with their iPods eating ice cream.

“We’re shooting for the family crowd. On Saturday nights in the summer, we’ll have disco night or Motown night with families — the children and the parents down by the pool — and we’ll have a buffet and a disk jockey.”

“Little C’s” is a new installation near the pool area that sells sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream, beer, liquor and wine.

The main dining room, which is open to the public, has undergone changes, as well. Prices on the menu are lower, and a soup and salad bar is included with any entrée or sandwich, or can be bought separately. 

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