LAKEWOOD - Did you know the building located at 9 W. Summit St., Lakewood, hasn't always been the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center?
If you did, then you probably know it was once a movie theater. According to information Diana Peterson, Busti-Lakewood Recreation director, has collected through her tenure as head of the center, ground broke in May 1940 for the Summit Theatre. The first movie shown was Neptune's Daughter. Also, it was the first theater in the country to have a crying room, which was a place for customers to take small children and not have to worry about bothering other people.
''Tony Barone (Lakewood historian) bought the first ticket,'' Peterson said.
Above is a picture of the ground breaking for Lakewood Summit Theater, the future Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center, in 1949. From left, Harry Winch, George Barone, Harold Lynn, Lakewood Mayor Howard Sutphen, Art Kettle, Harry Lang, and Jerry Okerlund.
In 1954, the building was bought by George Bradford and it was turned into Brad's Hardware. The building didn't become the recreation center until the 1970s. In 1971, the Lakewood Area Kiwanis Club launched a $50,000 fundraising drive for the the recreation center with an initial gift of $10,000, which were proceeds from selling the club's outdoor camp, Green Acres. What was not raised in the fund drive was paid by the town of Busti, with the remaining mortgage totaling $17,115. Then town officials secured a grant from HUD for $32,485 to acquire and develop the building in 1972.
Peterson said in May 1978, an agreement was signed between the village of Lakewood and the town of Busti establishing the town as disbursing agent.
BUSTI-LAKEWOOD RECREATION COMMISSION
There once was a commission in charge of making decisions on how to use the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center. Peterson didn't know when the commission was created, but that it was disbanded prior to her becoming director.
''I have been here for 10 years, Gary Yeager was here for five year before me. While he was here they disbanded,'' she said. ''There were four members, two from the town and two from the village. Board members weren't showing up to the meetings because there wasn't enough to warrant a board. So they decided to disband. I don't know who disbanded it.''
RECREATION CENTER 2012 EVENTS, PROGRAMS
There are several opportunities to use the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center or participate in sponsored programs. Some of the programs include: Golden Agers aerobics, adult fitness, pilates/yoga, cribbage, pinochle, men's over 30 basketball, ''Sharks'' swim team, competitive swim camp, swim lessons, summer playground, line dancing, Indian club swinging and fun with cupcakes. People can rent the building for birthday parties, weddings, receptions, funeral dinners, Ramadan, family Christmas, showers, anniversary parties, craft fair or for church gatherings.
Other events taking place at the recreation center include: Jamestown area bridge, TOPS, Striders winter run, antique study club, Boy Scouts, Life Line Screening, soccer coaches and referee clinics, nostalgia night, voting, Democratic Caucus, Medicare classes, garden club, flu clinic and Lakewood Women's Club. It is also used during the annual Amy King Memorial 5k run/walk event.