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Letters to the Editor

Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center changes

As most of you know there have been many changes in recent months at the facility formerly known as the Southern Prairie YMCA, now known as the Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center. In March, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all facilities like ours were ordered to close with no timeline for reopening.

May 1, the governor allowed fitness facilities to reopen with limitation. When we decided to reopen on a limited basis, our facility manager — maintenance and janitorial — decided to retire. Shortly thereafter, our aquatics director moved out of the area and then our director/CEO resigned to take another job.

Because of the facility manager leaving, we had no one certified to manage the pool so we decided to drain the pool. When the pool was operational, our utilities costs were $7,000 to $8,000 per month. For the months of June through Aug. 2020, the total utility cost is averaging $2,700 per month less than the same months in 2019.

Since the departure of these three employees, the board of directors has advertised with Indeed, Iowa Parks and Rec, Creston News Advertiser, shopper and has made numerous personal contacts with people in this area about applying for these three positions. There have been a number of applicants from out of state that either weren’t qualified/acceptable or weren’t serious about the job. We have had some local applicants but they either weren’t qualified or decided not to pursue the jobs. At this time, we have no qualified applicants for any of the three positions we are wanting to hire. We cannot operate the pool until we have a person who is qualified to manage the pool with a CPO license or have a licensed person to oversee them until a license can be obtained.

We have heard from members who are frustrated that the pool is not open and threatening to drop their membership. The board members are frustrated, too.

There are rumors circulating that the facility is going to close. At this time that option is not being considered by the board. We have received a $76,000 PPP loan through the CARES Act which has helped greatly with paying wages and utility costs. Based on current regulations under this act, it appears that most or all of this loan will be forgiven.

We have gone from 948 membership units Jan. 13, to 562 units now. We need the financial support from members and businesses in this area if we are going to be able to continue operating this facility. If anyone knows of persons who would be good candidates for these jobs or you yourself are interested, please contact Jennifer Kiesling at the SPFFC for an application.

Thank you for any support you can give to the SPFFC. Jim Nelson, Board member

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