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City Suspends 'Unauthorized' Senior Fitness Program

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A city in Missouri is suspending a popular senior fitness class at a local recreation center for a lack of formal authorization.

The ad-hoc senior fitness class, taught by Dave Nieters, has been conducted at the RiverChase Recreation Center in Fenton for the past 30 years. The class averages about 25 to 30 participants, and the city board had asked to have the location of the class moved to the former library space near City Hall due to construction at the rec center. 

However, the class was suspended when current municipal staffers couldn’t find any historical records regarding when or how the program was initiated. 

Erin Seele, the city attorney for Fenton, said the lack of proper authorization for the class puts undue liabilities on the city. 

Nieters told the South County Times that he’s been a Fenton resident for 15 years, and that he joined the class about 10 years ago and later became one of the "instructors."

Janet Adkins, a Fenton resident since 1978, called the class the best kept secret in Fenton.

“The class kept us moving, created friendships and healed people,” proclaimed Adkins, who said the class was shut down with no warning.

Adkins said class participants and those that teach were admonished for not signing waivers or paying fees. Both she and Nieters said they then were told signing waivers would not do them any good. 

“We were enjoying each other, and it would be my wish that Fenton and the RiverChase staff would revisit this situation,” added Adkins. 

Both Nieters and Adkins are hoping for guidance on how to get the class reinstated.

Alderwoman Susan Jokerst hopes attendees of the class will attend a board meeting to explain their situation. 

“It would be nice to see if another program could be created that was sanctioned through the city that’s safe and legal,” Jokerst said

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