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SALEM Center draws much interest



Published: Tue, January 29, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some area businesses are particularly interested in memberships for their employees.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- In December, when officials announced the fee schedule for the $9.5 million community center being built, they held their breath, waiting to gauge reaction to the prices.

So far, the response from prospective members has been encouraging, said Eric Green, Salem Community Center director, said recently.

"Everybody is really interested and positive" regarding the center and the cost of joining, Green said.

He said he's basing that conclusion mostly on responses he's hearing at presentations he makes to area community and church groups.

Business interest: Green also said interest in memberships has been keen from some area businesses that are considering group memberships for employees.

He attributed the corporate interest to companies' wanting to keep health-insurance costs in check by fostering healthy lifestyles among workers.

The board that oversees the private nonprofit center wanted to ensure that fees are fair and comparable to those at similar facilities.

Price range: Memberships will range from $27 monthly for people 16 to 60 to $22 monthly for those younger than 16.

People 60 or older with Golden Buckeye cards will pay $25 monthly. Full-time college students will pay $24 per month.

Once one family member has joined at the full rate, other members may join at reduced rates of $6 per month or less.

Although membership prices have been announced, memberships won't be available until May, Green said.

He said that before he accepts fees, he wants to hire an assistant to oversee memberships and customer service.

Progress on the two-story, 50,000-square-foot center is on schedule and on budget, Green said.

Opening in fall: A fall opening date is still planned for the center, which is being built off North Ellsworth Avenue near 12th Street.

The center is designed to accommodate more than 2,000 people. It will feature a gymnasium, swimming pool, fitness room, running track, teen and community lounges, meeting rooms and an arts and crafts area.




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