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If you’re already pondering your New Year’s resolutions and they include tightening your belt as well as your purse strings in 2020, a number of community centers in the Kanawha and Fayette county areas provide plenty of opportunities to stay fit and true to your goals.

The Booker T. Washington Community Center in London, between Cedar Grove and Montgomery, provides an open gymnasium for adult patrons, for instance. Also conducted on site are a youth sports development program, youth soccer leagues and youth summer basketball.

“Right now on Wednesday nights, we have an open gym,” Booker T. Washington Community Center Executive Director Gloria Rhem said. “About 20 to 30 men come now and pay $3 to play basketball. We’re looking into possibly expanding that into two nights.

“A lot of the youth soccer players don’t have a place to practice,” Rhem said, “so they come from an hour and practice during the week and give a small donation of $1 or so.”

Rhem noted that training sessions will be offered for $3 each, beginning on Jan. 6. “It’s $3 a session for adult weight training, youth weight training, yoga and Pilates, circuit training and diet education for youth and adults,” she said.

Other cost-cutting community offerings available at the Booker T. Washington Community Center are meetings of the “We Have Power” Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, monthly programs from the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance and the American Red Cross, free luncheons and blood pressure checks each month and child-oriented programs every Saturday afternoon. The center also can provide information to those seeking help for substance abuse issues.

The Booker T. Washington Community Center is located at 24 Wyatt St. in London. For additional information, contact Gloria Rhem at 304-389-0934 or

A couple of fun ways to burn calories is to dance — every week at the Marmet Recreation Center at 8505 MacCorkle Ave. in Marmet. The center hosts free line dance classes every Monday at 7:30 p.m., as well as the long-running Saturday night concerts (and dances) from 7 until 10 p.m. Local bands provide the music — and impetus — to swing, sway and otherwise move every Saturday (this week’s scheduled band is Restless, and Insured Sound is slated to perform at the New Year’s Eve dance, from 9 p.m. until midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 31.) Typically, the admission cost is $10 per person per function; admission for the New Year’s Eve dance will be $15 per person and $25 per couple.

“I’ve been doing [the weekly dances] at least eight years,” dance organizer Barry Pauley said last week. “We hardly miss a Saturday. One of our bands, the Exiles, when they come in, I get over 200 people there. On average, we get between 75 and 80 people, in that range, every week.”

For additional exercise opportunities at the Marmet center, “Upstairs, a few treadmills and an exercise bike are available for free,” Pauley added.

For more details, contact Barry Pauley at 304-590-0238.

The Charleston Parks and Recreation Department provides an array of free and low-cost exercise opportunities, as well.

The North Charleston Community Center, at 2009 Seventh Ave. in Charleston, offers a basketball court that sometimes doubles as a pickleball court and specialized classes, such as karate and martial arts, are hosted there frequently throughout the year.

The Kanawha City Community Center, 3511 Venable Ave. in Charleston, has outdoor tennis and basketball courts and a swimming pool, but this time of year, patrons will probably prefer the gymnasium with basketball court and weight rooms.

The other city-run community centers in the Metro East circulation area include the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at 314 Donnelly St. in Charleston, which offers a variety of youth and adult exercise opportunities such as a boxing ring and equipment, an indoor basketball court, a weight room with free weights and machines and a cardio room featuring an exercise bicycle, treadmills and an elliptical. (For fun and competitive calorie burning, the Game Room is equipped with a pool table, air hockey table and a foosball table.) In warmer weather, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center has tennis courts, a softball field and a swimming pool on the grounds.

Metro reporter Clint Thomas can be reached at or by calling 304-348-1232.