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BLOOMFIELD — The city of Bloomfield is preparing for a grand "re-opening" of the fitness center inside the city’s Cultural Complex after installing new equipment.

Keyless entry systems and a new security camera system were installed to allow the center to operate with little to no staffing after the city originally planned to close the facility as part of a $180,000 budget reduction.

But that plan was dropped when members of the City Council approved a plan to increase membership rates and install the equipment during a Nov. 28 meeting. Membership rates increased an average of 30 percent compared to the current fees, according to a memo to city councilors.

The annual membership rates for individuals and seniors increased by $150. The corporate annual memberships for individuals increased by $30, and the rate for the family plan went up by $40.

It cost the city about $10,300 to install the keyless entry systems and about $4,400 to install five security cameras with built-in motion detectors, City Manager Eric Strahl said.

He said the systems were installed in mid-December, and key cards have been distributed to members since then.

The budget cut approved during the Nov. 28 meeting included eliminating six full-time and two part-time city positions. One full-time and two part-time positions were eliminated in the department that manages the fitness center.

Strahl said one part-time employee splits time between City Hall and the fitness center while other employees at the Cultural Complex, including janitorial help, monitor operations.

Donna Clifton, the city’s HR analyst and compliance manager, said the city has seen an increase in people renewing their memberships for the fitness center. She has taken on additional job responsibilities, including handling the gym's memberships, since the budget cut.

The keyless entry systems were installed on the center’s main entrance inside the lobby of the Cultural Complex and the fitness center entrance on the east side of the building.

During a tour of the fitness center, Clifton said some of the exercise equipment was moved to make it easier for patrons to enter through the exterior entrance and for the city to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The desk inside the fitness center was removed, and three exercise bikes were relocated to that area.

A washer and dryer were removed from a maintenance room, and two punching bags were installed in the room.

Pat Wilson, a member of the fitness center for the last 10 years, said she was happy to see it remain open.

“I just felt like it was something the city needed to take a better look at and find options to keep it open,” Wilson said. “I think it’s working out pretty well.”

City officials are hosting two open house events this month to celebrate the "re-opening" of the fitness center.

The first open house is from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. The second is from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Cultural Complex at 333 S. First St.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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