The new entrance into the expanded Palos Heights Recreation Center has been open since August.
The new fitness center inside the refurbished Recreation Center has since been filled with sparkling new workout equipment — cardio machines, such as treadmills and ellipticals, weight-lifting machines and free weights.
The gleaming new fitness center is open and ready to take memberships after just about a year of work to construct the sparkling new addition onto the south side of the old Rec. Center, the former Crab Orchard School, 6601 W. 127th St.
Signs on the west drive into the Rec. Center parking lot point the way to program registration, new gyms and administrative offices of the Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Department. Information on fitness center memberships and offerings is available there.
Our reporter Dermot Connolly visited and toured the new facility last Friday afternoon in order to report on its amenities in his story on Page One of this week’s Regional.
The new Palos Heights Fitness Center boasts 3,000 square feet of workout room overlooking a spacious new gym below.
Membership sales began Aug. 1. Residents are welcome to visit the Recreation Center, tour the facility and choose among various membership options. A full color brochure full of details is available at the front desk.
Memberships for Palos Heights residents that include the Fitness Center, walking track and open gym for residents range from $17 per month for seniors or students, $21 per month individual, $32 for a couple and $41 per month per family. All the rates are explained in detail in the Parks & Recreation Department brochure at the fitness center.
Fitness center amenities in addition to the workout equipment include locker rooms, showers and towel service; childcare options; personal training; the indoor walking track and basketball open gym.
The effort to provide a municipal recreation center worthy of the name to Palos Heights has been years in the making, with many stops and starts along the way. A referendum to build a new one near City Hall failed years ago.
It has been a long, frustrating road to get to the successful conclusion we now behold. Congratulations are in order to the many public servants who made this facility possible. Mike Leonard, Palos Height Park & Recreation director, deserves much of the credit for shepherding this project to completion, from its inception, forums for voters to planning stages and construction.
Mayor Bob Straz, the Recreation Advisory Board and the City Council had the vision to bring this proposition to the voters of Palos Heights in a referendum question. A solid majority of them voted in the November 2014 election to approve a $6.3 million bond issue to renovate the Rec Center and build an addition onto it. Yes votes beat No votes 3,359 to 2,049, or 62.11 percent to 37.89 percent to approve the general obligation borrowing.
On the City Council, Alderman Jeffrey Key – with his fellow aldermen on the Parks & Recreation Committee –were responsible for all the contracting, spending and myriad other decisions that went into building the new facility.
It was a smart investment move by residents to approve the borrowing to build this crucial addition to Palos Heights’ public square. It can only increase homeowners’ property values in the long run by making the city an even more desirable place to buy and home, and live.
We agree with Mayor Straz who has called the new addition “remarkable.” At a council meeting last month, Straz said: “We stepped up and made a big difference to the quality of life in Palos Heights.” Indeed they have.
A grand opening of the fitness center is scheduled for Nov. 19. Meantime, we encourage residents and others to check out the facility, take a tour and decide if its splendid new offerings meet health and fitness needs. For some who have been looking to finally begin or renew a regular exercise regimen, it just might be a great place to start.