This year’s 2021 Business of the Year is a heartbeat of our collective communities in Maplewood and Richmond Heights. From residents to business owners, and elected officials to city staff; they host all of the local movers & shakers on a daily basis. From dawn to dusk, seven days a week, there is a flurry of activity with people of all ages, from newborns to newly retired.

Our 2021 Business of the Year is The HEIGHTS: Richmond Heights & Maplewood Community Center. For over two decades, it’s been the crown jewel of our area and the envy of surrounding communities with a fully-equipped fitness center, an indoor aquatic center (with all of the bells and whistles), and spacious multipurpose rooms with updated technology ready to support all community programming needs and activities.

In the spring of 2020, THE HEIGHTS completed a 6-million dollar renovation project which was set to be unveiled with a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for March 15, 2020. Of course, the ceremony never took place and was cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19. In the months that followed, THE HEIGHTS’ staff focused on helping children and families who were displaced and struggling due to school closings with the creation of “HEIGHTS Hall E-Learning Camp”. Additionally, they worked hard to serve the community through virtual efforts including fitness classes and programs designed to lift the spirits of their members. In 2021, THE HEIGHTS served a critical need by becoming a community vaccination site welcoming over 3,000 people from across the region, staffed largely by Richmond Heights and Maplewood employees and residents.

As restrictions were lifted in 2021, THE HEIGHTS staff wasted no time in offering socially-distanced recreational programs and special events desperately needed in the community after a year of cancellations.  Following Covid-19 protocols, the Staff worked hard to bring back beloved community events like Egg My House, a Drive-in Concert on the Saint Louis Galleria grounds, Movie in the Park, and Trunk-or-Treat. Brand new events were created as well, such as the Kids Flea Market and THE HEIGHTS Holiday Express. THE HEIGHTS crew put tremendous effort into putting on safe and thoughtful programming and they did not disappoint. On top of these special events, staff also created a safe environment for fitness classes and training.

Beyond the facilities and programming, what sets THE HEIGHTS apart is the people who work there and the heart they show for our community. You don’t have to leave your computer to know what kind of people they are – simply pull up their Facebook page and catch a glimpse of Kelly and Jeanette’s live videos, which are both informative and entertaining! They exhaust no resources in making residents and businesses aware of their programming and facility updates. Lindsey, the Aquatics Manager, recently obtained her American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Certification, which is no easy feat and will prove invaluable as new lifeguards join the team. Other staff like Nate, Jon, and Linnsie ensure the facility, fitness center, and front desk are meeting the needs of their members and guests. The custodial and maintenance staff work hard behind the scenes to keep the facility safe and clean for all who visit.

Finally, among the roller coaster of changes for The Heights throughout the last two years was the retirement of longtime Parks and Recreation Director, Teresa Proebsting, and the appointment of a new director, Molly Curcuru. The success of The HEIGHTS over the last 12 + months is a testament to their leadership and that of the dedicated staff.

On behalf of the Mid County Chamber of Commerce, and businesses and residents of Maplewood and Richmond Heights, we congratulate THE HEIGHTS on being named the 2021 Business of the Year!