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Minturn Fitness Center board to hold more public meetings, discusses moving forward

Town, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail officials discuss next steps after facility was forced to close earlier this month

The Minturn Fitness Center.
Daily file photo

If only all of the community’s problems could be solved by going to the gym.

Acknowledging a problematic situation at the Minturn Fitness Center, the gym’s governing board said community involvement in the facility — whether it be from higher membership, volunteering, or just participating in a survey — will help solve the issues it currently faces.

Those problems include financial issues, employee hiring and retention, and a strained relationship with the community in Minturn.

In a meeting of the six-person Minturn Fitness Center board on Wednesday, the group agreed to a regular meeting schedule, and also agreed to host more public meetings, with half the meetings in an annual year set to be public and half being closed-session.

Volunteers needed

The fitness center is the result of a partnership between the town of Minturn and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. An agreement between the two entities dictates that the ski club will keep the fitness center staffed and running. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Kirk Dwyer, who is on the board, said Wednesday that the club is expecting a $113,000 loss this year from the operations of the facility.

Dwyer said there are efficiencies to be utilized with partnerships between Howard Head and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, and while they’ve received some help from those partnerships when it comes to staffing, no formal agreements have been made.

The board would also like to implement a volunteer program to help bring a widened operating schedule to the facility.

“There’s not the ability to staff it at all of the times that might be needed, and I think when we get to that line item on the budget we’re going to have to start finding creative ways to staff in a responsible manner,” said Minturn town manager Michelle Metteer, who is a member of the board. “So I would look at putting a program together with policies and liberties and waivers and all of the things that come with a full volunteer program in order to keep the facility open and available to the public, but at a reasonable cost to the facility.”

Lower fees

Dwyer said he would also like to lower fees considerably in an effort to boost membership from the public.

“I think the more we open it up to everyone in the public, getting more people in there and people feeling good about their involvement and feeling that its fair, I think you start getting more volunteerism,” Dwyer said. “I think we need to work together, and it fits into everyone feeling good about this and feeling they have an equal share.”

Immediate programming goals for the fitness center include ski conditioning and spin classes for the fall, along with the addition of early morning hours.

Equipment issues

Equipment needs were also discussed.

The facility was forced to close briefly in September when the town officials Minturn learned that equipment had been sold without their knowledge. The money from that sale, $2,850, is in the Minturn Fitness Center’s account. The board also agreed on Wednesday to review all decisions to sell equipment before any sales occur.

Bryan Rooney apologized for getting rid of the elliptical machines.

“I did not have a clear understanding about the level of need for those pieces of equipment or their usage,” Rooney said. “Obviously, I think we’ve all learned a lot over the past month or so here, I certainly have.”

Looking ahead, Rooney said the gym will seek member engagement regarding equipment.

“That is something that I’d love to hear good feedback on from the members, what do they want to see,” he said.


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