This week, the county’s Recreation Department provided an update on the progress of the Silver Spring Recreation & Aquatic Center.
The indoor pool at the upcoming center has been fully coated with white paint and is on track to open early next year in downtown Silver Spring.
The Silver Spring Recreation and Aquatic Center at 1319 Apple Ave. has a total area of almost 120,000 square feet and features three pools, a community center, a fitness center, and a gym. The aquatics area will have a competition pool, a lap pool, and a recreational pool.
“This is not just a pool, it’s a monster,” Montgomery County Recreation facilities & aquatics division chief Melanie Sassie told the Source last year. “It combines an aquatic facility and a large recreation center. We do not have this kind of space down county.”
The complex has four floors that will feature pools, a social hall, a teaching kitchen, a fitness area with exercise rooms, a high school-sized basketball court, various activity and game rooms, hot tubs, a dance studio, and a community lounge. Additionally, there is a senior wellness center at the complex, operated in partnership with Holy Cross Hospital.
The center is part of a larger development of the Elizabeth Square apartment complex by the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County in partnership with Lee Development Group. The project includes 887 residential units and 6,000 square feet of retail space in two apartment buildings that will be located on either side of the recreation center.
The Leggett, a 267-unit, 16-story mixed-income senior living development, opened earlier this year.
The Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame will be located in the complex, and a larger-than-life sculpture of Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes has been commissioned by the county for the facility.
Silver Spring native Dominique Dawes, also known as “Awesome Dawesome,” made history as the first African-American gymnast to qualify for and compete in the Olympics. She achieved an impressive 15 U.S. Championships from 1991 to 1996 and solidified her legacy by earning the first individual Olympic gymnastics medal for an African-American in 1996, securing a bronze medal in the floor exercises. As a three-time Olympian, Dawes was part of the “Magnificent Seven,” the pioneering American team that won gold in women’s gymnastics at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
After retiring following the Sydney Games in 2000, where she secured a team bronze, she graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002. Dawes has since ventured into various pursuits, including appearing on Broadway in a revival of “Grease” and Prince’s “Betcha by Golly Wow!” music video, as well as advocating for young women in sports.
From 2004 to 2006, Dawes served as president of the Women’s Sports Federation. In 2010, President Obama appointed her to co-chair the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition alongside NFL quarterback Drew Brees. In 2020, she established the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics & Ninja Academy, with locations in Clarksburg, Rockville, and soon Baltimore, aiming to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for all children, including her four children, two of whom are twins. Dawes has been a member of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame since 2009 and was inducted into the USA Olympic Hall of Fame with the Magnificent Seven in 2008.
Dawes, who became a member of the Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Photos Courtesy of Montgomery County Recreation