New Rifle Fitness Center tests viability of proposed Health and Wellness Center |

New Rifle Fitness Center tests viability of proposed Health and Wellness Center

John Gardner
Rifle Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Rifle’s proposed Health and Wellness Center may be on hold, but the city is moving forward to provide residents with an interim fitness center facility that could open as early as July.

The Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. and the city of Rifle agreed to lease a 11,500-square foot space at the Rifle Commons, 800 Airport Road, for what will be called the Rifle Fitness Center. The partners signed a three-year lease with the Commons owners, the Calandri Partnership.

For several years the Economic Development Corp. and the city of Rifle have been planning for a nearly 107,000-square-foot Health and Wellness Center in downtown Rifle. But the project was halted earlier this year when the city instead agreed to lease the site for construction of the seven-plex Brenden Movie Theatre, now scheduled to open in November.

Langhorne said the new plan is to take over operation of The Rock Family Fitness Center at the Rifle Commons location and expand within the building.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to really proof this out within the community, to see what support there is for the Health and Wellness Center,” said Michael Langhorne, Economic Development Corp. president.

If the fitness center proves viable, the facility could move into the proposed Health and Wellness Center in the future. Opening a fitness center now will also show what kind of revenues it could generate.

“This is only the first step,” Langhorne said.

Langhorne said other partners, such as Clough Energy Co., have committed to purchasing new gymnastics equipment for the facility. The city will also purchase some additional cardiovascular equipment, such as treadmills and stationary bicycles, according to Rifle recreation director Aleks Briedis.

Briedis said he expects the fitness center will provide up to six jobs; one full-time position and up to five part-time jobs. There will also be openings for contract employees for aerobics and gymnastics classes, he said.

Under a new agreement with the city, the Economic Development Corp. will pay for the lease and maintenance of the facility and equipment, while the city will cover operating costs, funded by the Parks and Recreation Department, of around $240,000 per year.

The city is also planning to apply for a Colorado Health Foundation Grant of $80,000 to help cover the first-year operational costs.

Revenues earned at the center will first repay the city’s operation costs. If revenues top those costs, they will repay the Economic Development Corp. for the lease payments, said city attorney Jim Neu at the April 6 Rifle City Council meeting.

“We are hoping to at least break even,” said Neu.

Langhorne didn’t disclose the cost of the Rifle Commons lease, but said the owners worked with the Economic Development Corp. to make it affordable.

“It’s been very good and we are looking forward to working with you guys,” said Rifle Commons owner John Calandri. “So, we are pleased to be part of it.”

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