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Sandy Blood, membership services coordinator, spearheaded the effort to open the

Hallett Community Center makes changes to attract new members

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News Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

CROSBY — In an age when belt-tightening is the norm for the pocketbook, incentives to get people to spend wages on belt tightening of another order — exercise — may take an extra incentive.

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At the Hallett Community Center in Crosby a new wrinkle is actually erasing a reason that keeps people from working out — limited hours. 

As of Sept. 1, the center will offer its fitness center — with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines and free weights — for members 24 hours a day seven days a week, including holidays. 

“We wanted to get it up and running as a way to attract new members,” said Sandy Blood, member services coordinator. 

Shift workers and young moms are just some of the people Blood said are looking for a way to work out but don’t have traditional hours of a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. lifestyle. The Hallett Center is open on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the winter hours, which begin after Labor Day, and on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months. Hours are more limited on weekends. 

But with the change, Blood, who spearheaded the effort, said members will be free to work out on their own schedules either after kids are to bed or after they’ve had time to get home from work no matter what hour that turns out to be. 

“A lot of people need it after 9 p.m.” Blood said. 

Members will have access to restroom facilities but the ice arena, six-lane pool and activity pool with water slide, sauna, and locker rooms will be locked after regular hours. 

In order to offer 24-hour service, the center put about $7,000 into a security and keyless entry system. Eight cameras keep a watchful eye on the facility, which may be monitored from the center’s office and remotely, allowing staff to check in after-hours. The improvements were funded by the Hallett Community Center Foundation Board. Installation of the system was completed earlier this week by Gull Lake Glass. 

Maurice Slepica, general manager, said changing the operation to offer round-the-clock service is one way to attract new members in a difficult economy, which has seen membership decline in Crosby. The center has about 1,030 members. 

“This is kind of a gamble for us,” Slepica said.

The center offers ice skating and swimming lessons, fitness classes, walking and running area, health and wellness seminars, as well the equipment center. 

After hours, in addition to having staff monitor the fitness center by logging on from remote sites, the center itself will have extra police patrols. A panic button was installed inside the fitness center. And, Blood said, the fitness center is frequented by off-duty police officers, whose members were among those pleased by the 24-hour access. 

Crosby Police Chief Kim Coughlin said frequently the only time her officers are able to work out is late at night or right before or after their shifts. Coughlin said officers will be frequently patrolling the center inside and out while on duty, as well as working out there off duty. 

Monthly fees are $41.50 for single memberships, $36 for senior citizens, $84 for family memberships and $28.50 for individual youth memberships. The center also offers a membership fee, allowing a single or senior member to add one additional person.

As an added incentive for new members with its shift to 24-hour services, the center is heavily discounting its enrollment fee from $50 to $7 and offering a discount on its first month fee. Incentive programs offer shirts and gym bags to those who meet workout goals. Justin Hoefer, wellness coordinator, works with people to personalize their training and workout routines based on their goals, body type and metabolism. 

So for those flipping through the TV channels after work, the challenge will be to come up with another reason not to work out because soon the Hallett Center’s fitness center will be open day and night. 

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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