The Lakeshore Fitness Center announced a couple of weeks ago that it was no longer able to stay open sue to the unforeseen future with everything surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Parts of Muskegon were shocked and others were not surprised as for quite some time, the financial struggles of the facility had been a heated topic among all of the "experts" on social media. Our story here today, like anything else we publish isn't to point fingers, or assume we know the whole story of the intricacies of running a huge facility like that, because, we don't. There is however plenty of impact for people in Muskegon here, and a facility that could most likely be put to good use in some way shape or form for what it's intended to do, so we asked.
Formerly the Muskegon YMCA, Muskegon Community College purchased the building in 2015 and reopened the building under the MCC umbrella in 2016. It's been a place for all of the kinds of activities you'd find in a health care facility of it's size. Everything from swim lessons to spin classes and amenities offered to a wide range of community members. There were associative programs through other organizations in the community, including the former owner of the building the YMCA, as well as The Boys and Girls Club, area schools and more. It couldn't have been an easy decision to make on anyone's end to close the facility, nothing like this ever is.
Upon the notice given though, there was an immediate urgency on social media as well as among some of the members and staff to start thinking about the "what if's". What if another owner was found? What if the center was taken over by a newly formed organization to run it, as well as help develop some of the surrounding areas in an booming area of Muskegon? What if there are programs elsewhere in the state or country that have worked and been put in place to help keep a community resource open like this and how do we all come together to keep it open. For a very tough decision to be made in a time of uncertainty, they are some equally tough questions that are being asked to help assure a community asset can find a new way and those served by it can continue, and hopefully...the Lakeshore Fitness Center can continue it's path of growth that they had seen in the recent months.
It's one of those situations were there's really no "right or wrong". No one is to blame, economics sometimes force things that no one wants. Muskegon however is truly remarkable in the fact that our greatest asset is our people and when things that are important to us, we find a way to keep them.
Jeff Lohman was the director of the Lakeshore Fitness Center. While the future is uncertain to Jeff and the staff of the facility, we reached out to him to ask about what he's heard from those community members who've started some gears turning. We also talk about some programs that have worked in other areas of the state to protect assets like this and we hope, that with this discussion, a bit of a spark is made that will spread...not only to help those who enjoyed and made use of the club for the health and wellness, but the communal gathering spot, the resources it provides and the jobs it created. Take a listen.
"Times, are uncertain." if we could all get a nickle for every time we've heard that in the last few months, we could fund the Lakeshore Fitness Center till the end of time. Unfortunately, lie so many other painful decisions that have been made in the last few months, figuring it out is going to take a couple things. Patience. Perseverance. Understanding and most of all us. There's an answer out there for the Lakeshore Fitness Center, and Muskegon finds it's answers....always. We'll do our best to follow the developments and keep you updated. What we hope most of all, is that the thoughts shared today are yet another great example of how resilient this community is and that with all of us working together, nothing is being taken away from us.
To learn more about the 5 Healthy Towns program Jeff talked about, click on the image below.
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