By Dedra Cordle
As people are making the decision to live an active and healthy lifestyle, more people are looking at local community centers to help them meet their individualized goals and needs.
One location that has seen a boost in their membership is the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA, which is located in the village of Urbancrest.
Pam Slater, the executive director of the center, said the growth of their membership was so high, it went over what they had budgeted for the year.
“I would say there has been a 5 or 6 percent increase in membership, but that increase is a very good thing,” she said.
While smaller in comparison to other branches throughout central Ohio, the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA boasts amenities such as an outdoor track, an indoor pool, a multi-purpose gymnasium, a baseball/softball diamond and a fitness center with treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers and strength equipment.
According to Slater, the fitness center is the most popular attraction for members and it is only getting busier as the center grows in membership.
To accommodate this need, the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA leadership has proposed an expansion of the fitness center in order to meet the demand. They had submitted expansion plans to the village council at the August meeting, but council members had some reservations as the plan called for tearing down two walls from nearby rooms, one of which was used as a learning and activities room for children.
Upon hearing further from the YMCA leadership – they said the room would be relocated and services would still be maintained – council approved the plans at its Sept. 3 meeting.
Slater said she is uncertain of when the project will begin – they have to research whether the walls (which are partially moveable) are salvageable and if electricity has to be rerouted – but they hope it will be by the end of the year. She expects it should not take too long to complete the estimated $10,000 project.
When the expansion is complete, the center will have additional space in order to accommodate the growing number of members who want a place for specialized fitness classes for activities such as Pilates and yoga.