Will they or won’t they open the Fruitvale seniors’ gym to users under the age of 50?
This matter was at the forefront of discussion during the 2018 municipal election. As promised a little over one year ago to date, the village’s elected officials will make their decision on Monday, Dec. 2.
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At the Nov. 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor Steve Morissette says both sides stated reasons behind their position for keeping gym use status quo, or seniors-only, versus opening it up to younger residents.
“They both presented their pros and cons,” Morissette said, mentioning two people represented each side of the conversation. “And it was very respectful as they presented their case.”
Regardless what council does decide on Monday, Morissette stressed there are options. That said, operational costs will be at the forefront now matter what the outcome will be.
“We could open it on a trial basis for six month to see how it works,” he explained. “One of the concerns we have with the gym, whether to open it to younger ages or not, is ongoing operational costs because that was never built into it,” the mayor added.
“Because the gym was built on grants, no operational money was allotted to it. So we have nothing to replace or repair the equipment with.”
The Fruitvale gym opened in 2015 with the help of a $25,000 grant from New Horizons for Seniors, and approximately $12,000 in local and regional contributions.
Located in the basement of the Fruitvale Memorial Hall, the intent was to provide seniors with a facility to increase their fitness level and remain active in a supportive and safe environment.
Several fitness classes like yoga were attracting senior women, but senior men were reluctant to participate.
While the original target group focused on all seniors, the gym was particularly designed to give senior men a place where they felt comfortable and willing to participate in active seniors’ fitness programming.
Although the original grant application targeted seniors’, the application approval letter states that any capital assets, those over $1,000, at the end of the project can be kept and used for any other activities that would benefit seniors and the community.
“The municipality as an organization is currently assuming some risk associated with the gym for the safety, health and well-being of patrons from well operating equipment and supported hygiene of the facility and equipment,” notes Kelli Tuttle, chief administrative officer.
“The risks have been accepted by council as being at an acceptable level, but with increased usage the risks will increase. Council must decide if the increased risks are still within an acceptable level.”