November 26, 2022

Fitness center continues to provide

Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center Director Denise Kuhns said the COVID-19 pandemic hurt and helped the facility.

Now she said is the time for the operation to grow on its own.

Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center’s annual fundraiser dinner and auction is 6 p.m., Saturday at the Eagles Club. Rod Sears is the guest speaker. For reservations contact the center at 782-9622.

“Before COVID, the facility was not in bad shape,” Kuhns said. “COVID knocked member numbers in half and eliminated some of our corporate sponsors. It wreaked a lot havoc on our business.”

Saturday’s event is one of two major fundraising efforts for the center. The other is a golf outing that had 20 teams and sponsors. Kuhns said the day raised about $15,000.

“We had a great turnout,” she said.

The help from COVID was through the city of Creston.

Late last year, Creston City Council approved allocating $200,000 of its $1.4 million American Rescue Plan Act funds it to Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center. Kuhns added the facility was awarded $219,000 from the Iowa Fitness Center Relief Program.

“The federal money from the city was required to have a portion of it for facility upgrade,” she said. Two boilers and a mechanical work on the pool were purchased.

“We would like to replace some boilers that are 25 years old. We need to replace some HVAC units throughout the building. We’ve got a pool which that’s in much need of regrouted, recaulked, repainted, as well as the mechanics of it,” said center board chairman Skip Kenyon during the time the funds were awarded.

“It’s at the point where we can not fix it,” he said of the pool’s water system. “It’s too old and we can’t get parts.”

Since that time, Kuhns said other work that has been done includes remodeling a racquetball court into a small exercise room.

“A lot of facilities are doing that since racquetball is not as popular,” she said. Kuhns said the center is running with the pickleball craze across the country as it can create an indoor court for players.

Kuhns said plenty of programs have either started or will be held during the winter months. Programs include a men’s basketball league, co-ed volleyball and a climbing club. She said soccer Sundays will be for youth and adults including informal games with instruction.

She is also researching a competitive jigsaw puzzle group. “It’s more competitive in spririt,” she said.

Swimming lessons are ongoing and those interested in life guard certification are asked to contact the center for schedule information.

Saturday’s event includes a raffle for Sugar Bowl tickets in New Orleans.

Dr. Josh Capsons won the two tickets last year that included a pregame party and two nights lodging.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said.

The hotel was in downtown New Orleans right outside of the French Quarter and only a few blocks from all the New Year’s parties.

“The pregame party started several hours before the game began. The pregame party was set up for each teams VIP’s and celebrities. We spent several hours talking to people who helped run each team or were involved very heavily in the bowl game,” he said.

The food was amazing and was serenaded by each team’s band.

“We had a great time on this trip and it is definitely worth buying a raffle ticket,” he said.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.