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Grosse Pointe City

January 16, 2013

New Neighborhood Club facility attracts hundreds

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

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A pool and fitness center are among the attractions drawing local residents to the Neighborhood Club, which opened its doors to users Jan. 7 after a year and a half of construction on the new building.

Whether it’s due to New Year’s fitness resolutions or a beautiful new facility with top-of-the-line equipment, the nonprofit Neighborhood Club was busy beyond bustling during an open house Jan. 5, and on the first day of operations Jan. 7.

The new two-story, 39,743-square-foot Neighborhood Club Recreation and Wellness Center, constructed on the site of the old structure at 17150 Waterloo in the Village, is considerably larger than its predecessor and features a 4,900-square-foot fitness center; a warm-water, zero-depth entry pool with a children’s area and lane swimming for adults; a gymnasium with six basketball hoops, courts for pickleball and volleyball, and an indoor batting cage; a Sports Enhancement Center for student athletes and rowing in the basement; a community room that can be rented for parties or other events; a preschool on the second floor; and much more. The project was completed in partnership with Beaumont Health System, a long-term tenant now using 25 percent of the building, according to a Neighborhood Club spokesperson. Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe is located nearby in the City.

Executive Director Stu Alderman said they remained on schedule with the project, which is expected to come in at, or slightly under, the $10.6 million budget, thanks in no small part to a mild winter last year.

“We were ahead of schedule and we were on budget,” he said. “Not that many projects of this nature can claim that.”

Marketing Manager Amy Roy said a crowd estimated at 1,500-2,000 came through the doors during the open house, and a number of those visitors purchased memberships. According to numbers available at press time, on Jan. 5 alone, 53 memberships were sold, constituting at least 105 or more new members, since some memberships have companion or family levels covering multiple people, she said.

“It was solid registration the whole time,” Roy said.

More than 200 memberships had been sold prior to that weekend, as well, Alderman said.

Response so far has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Roy said.

That is, with one exception: Some users haven’t been happy about the adjacent, gated new City-run parking lot, which charges visitors. Alderman said the lot and its fees are handled by the City, and money from parking doesn’t go to the Neighborhood Club.

Local residents aren’t the only ones happy about the new facility.

“The whole staff has been working towards this for years,” Roy said. “To see it all come together — it’s just been very exciting for us.”

After only being open about 40 hours per week before, Alderman said they’re now scheduled to be open 104 hours a week, which will be reduced slightly during the summer. They’re also open every day, except for select major holidays, he said.

Almost everything being offered at the building is new, except for the preschool, Roy said.

Alderman said they’ve contracted with Beaumont to oversee their fitness programs, and fitness coaches in the fitness center will be available to answer questions about the equipment and provide personal fitness assessments. Fitness Programs Coordinator Andrea Beebe said they will look at factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, flexibility and body mass index to come up with exercise programs tailored for each person. She said it’s a good fit for Beaumont, since “it’s becoming more of a trend for doctors to prescribe exercise” to their patients.

“I can’t wait to see people improve,” she said. “I love seeing people … live happier, healthier lives as they work towards their fitness goals.”

Members can take advantage of more than 30 fitness classes, as well as the pool, gym and fitness center. Through Jan. 31, the annual enrollment fee is being waived, and those who purchase an annual membership will get a 13th month free. For a limited time, annual family members can receive half off the cost of certain Neighborhood Club youth leagues. Monthly and daily passes are available, as well.

Officials don’t necessarily see themselves competing with private gyms in the area.

“We’re not trying to take anyone’s customers,” Roy said. “What we’re really hoping is to get more people who aren’t exercising, exercising. … It can only help to have more people working out and staying healthy.”

Donations were still being sought, at press time, for the project, and naming opportunities remained available for certain contributions. The nonprofit Neighborhood Club receives no government funds, Alderman said, and program fees usually don’t cover the full cost to run them. Roy said programs and other expenses are supplemented by donations and proceeds from the Neighborhood Club Thrift Shop, now located at 17888 Mack in the City. Advancement Director Kathy Eisengruber said they had raised $3.8 million toward their goal of $4 million for the project. Anyone interested in donating could contact her or Alderman, she said.

Alderman thinks the Neighborhood Club could spark additional foot traffic in the Village, with users shopping and dining after classes and workouts.

“Hopefully it’ll be good for everyone in town,” he said.

Beaumont’s learning and rehabilitation programs at the Neighborhood Club started Jan. 14. These include the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Center for Human Development, which handles learning and development issues ranging from speech therapy to behavior management.

“This is a wonderful resource for families in Grosse Pointe, whose children require pediatric specialists, to help ensure their children are healthy,” said Dr. Donna Hoban, physician-in-chief of Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, in a press release. “Rather than having to travel across town, these services will be right around the corner.”

Adult physical therapy is being offered, as well.

For appointments or more information about pediatric services, call Beaumont at (313) 473-4730 or visit www.beaumontchildrenshospital.com. For appointments or additional information about adult physical therapy, call (313) 473-4700.

At press time, a ribbon-cutting with officials from Beaumont and the City was slated to take place at 4 p.m. Jan. 16 at the new building.

The Neighborhood Club is now open from 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. To register or for more information about Neighborhood Club programs, call (313) 885-4600 or visit www.neighborhoodclub.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.