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Fitness center continues to provide

Nov. 8—Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center Director Denise Kuhns said the COVID-19 pandemic has both hurt and helped the facility.

Now, she said, it’s time for the operation to grow on its own.

Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center’s annual fundraising 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 wasn’t in bad shape,” Kuhns said. “Covid has cut membership numbers in half and eliminated some of our corporate sponsors. It has wreaked 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, the Creston City Council approved awarding $200,000 of its $1.4 million U.S. Rescue Plan Act to the 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 had to have a portion of it for upgrading facilities,” she said. Two boilers and some 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 have a pool that needs a lot of re-routing, rebuilding, repainting, as well as the mechanics of it. . . ,” center board chairman Skip Kenyon said at the time the funds were awarded.

“It’s at the point where we can’t 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 rebuilding a racquetball court in a small practice room.

“Many facilities do this as racquetball is not that popular,” she said. Kuhns said the center is running with the pickleball craze across the country, as it can create an indoor track for players.

Kuhns said many 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 also researches a competitive puzzle group. “It’s more competitive in spirit,” she said.

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

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

Dr. Josh Capsons won the two tickets last year which included a pre-game party and two nights’ accommodation.

“It was a wonderful experience,” he said.

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

“The pregame party was several hours before the game started. The pregame party was organized for each team’s VIPs and celebrities. We spent several hours talking to people who helped manage each team or were very involved 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’s definitely worth buying a raffle ticket,” he said.

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