'What are you going to do with a facility that has three pools and a locker room?': Fitness Center's Announced Closure Frustrates Members

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A fitness center in an Illinois city has announced that it will close at the end of the year, frustrating some residents and facility-goers, who say there's a lack of other options in the area. 

The Northwestern Medicine Fitness Center in Crystal Lake notified its members on Oct. 28 that the Crystal Lake site would close on Dec. 30, leaving one facility in another city as an option for members.

“We have made the difficult choice to centralize all fitness center services in McHenry County,” Northwestern Medicine leadership said in the letter, as reported by the Shaw Local News Network. “We regret any inconvenience this causes you. I hope that you will enjoy the enhanced experience at our Huntley location.”

While the fitness center has promised to reimburse full or partial prepaid membership plans, several residents said they are left wondering how and where they can continue certain specific fitness programs.

“Everyone in my fitness class is unhappy about the center closing,” said Crystal Lake resident Robert Buck, who does water aerobics in the fitness center’s warm water pool.

The nearest alternative, the Sage YMCA, doesn’t have a warm water pool, and the Huntley location, which is about 20 minutes from the Crystal Lake facility — is too far away for most in the class.

The decision came as a surprise to the center's patrons, Buck told the newspaper. Buck said he hoped an entity like the Crystal Lake Park District would take over the building to keep it as a fitness venue.

“What are you going to do with a facility that has three pools and a locker room?” Buck said. “You can’t make a bowling alley out of it.”

Crystal Lake resident Rozanne Ronen also described traveling to Huntley as “not an option” and said the closure announcement was “very upsetting.”

Ronen works out at the facility becasue her doctor recommended exercise as a way to manage arthritis, she said.

“This is a huge loss for the community and staff members,” Ronen said. “I hope there is some way that this outstanding facility can be saved.”

Questions provided to a Northwestern Medicine spokesman Thursday were not responded to by press time, the Shaw Local News Network reported. 

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