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Some say muscle building and a public building not a good fit

Greg Masse

A new “cardio balcony,” planned as part of the proposed Glenwood Springs Aquatic Center, is stepping up the blood pressure of local health club managers – again.

The balcony will be an enlargement of the Glenwood Springs Community Center’s already-existing fitness area. That area, now located on the bottom floor of the center, faced strong opposition from health club representatives last year. They said the city government has no business getting into the health club business.

Despite those objections, the Glenwood Springs City Council approved the installation of a fitness area at the center last year because it will help to generate more income.

The cardio balcony, an elevated platform that’s designed to give views of the gymnasium on one side and the aquatic center on the other side, will house the center’s current line of equipment and some new equipment, Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation director Dan Rodgerson said.

Some still question whether the expansion is appropriate.

John Bosco, chief financial officer of the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, said he feels it’s a matter of principle.

“We were not concerned from the standpoint of how it would affect our business. We feel we offer a unique product here,” he said.

Rather, he and the other members of the board voiced support for other clubs that came out in opposition of cardiovascular equipment at the Community Center.

“We supported their concern that the government is going into competition with private, taxpaying businesses,” Bosco said.

Government entities like the city of Glenwood Springs can take advantage of breaks on insurance, utilities and special prices that private businesses cannot, Bosco said.

“Where does it stop? Where does the government stop?” he asked. “Is it an essential service the government should be providing?”

“They might as well go into rafting,” said Lori Nelson, owner of Exclusive Athletic Club at the Ramada Inn.

Nelson was glad to hear the center won’t get into free weights, a large part of her business, but is concerned that the weights could eventually be added.

“The people all said no, but they went ahead and did it anyway,” she said of the installation of fitness equipment.

The Community Center now provides some cardiovascular apparatus, such as a stair-stepper, treadmill, and other equipment.

“We’ll just be able to expand that,” Rodgerson said. “We’re catering to families and people just introducing themselves to fitness. It was always in the original plan. It was built into the design.”

Mayor Don Vanderhoof said when the question first came before council, he voted against it. But after more information was presented to him and the other council members, he changed his mind.

“I was all for the pool, but I felt the health club was making it too much of a health club kind of thing and not enough of a community center,” Vanderhoof said. “I agreed to go along with some exercise machines to help get the pool built.”

City Council agreed to pitch in $750,000 toward the pool, and they figured fees raised from the use of the exercise equipment would help them recoup that money, Vanderhoof said.

Also, it is estimated the city will have to allocate about $80,000 per year to subsidize the operation and maintenance of the pool, and the cardio balcony could help pay those costs.

“Most community centers have that type of thing,” Vanderhoof said. “It’s the money-maker for the center.”


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