Maury County wellness center opens in place of former YMCA - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Maury County wellness center opens in place of former YMCA

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COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

Many gyms are packed at the start of a new year with people resolving to be healthier, but when the YMCA closed in one community, locals fought back, saying the facility was about more than a workout.

People in Columbia and Maury County say they've invested millions into the building that once was their YMCA, taking the building back and making it their own.

"We were really worried there for a while," said Joe Williams, a member of the YMCA for the last seven years.

The Maury County YMCA was one of several local facilities shut down by the Y during a financial restructuring last month. But the community wouldn't go out without a fight.

"We're not going to allow this resource to go away. It's just to good for our community, for our seniors, our young people, for our families," said Eddie Miller, interim director of Wellness & Aquatics.

Former YMCA members formed a 12-member board and started to raise money. On New Year's Day, they opened the Wellness & Aquatics complex in the same building but with new equipment and no initial fees for returning members.

"We may not have a few of the kinks worked out Jan. 1, but we're going to go ahead and open and make the point if you made that New Year's resolution, we're going to be here for you," Miller said.

"Even though we're not a Y anymore, this is the place to work out. We want them to be comfortable. This is the only place that has an aquatics center here," said board Chairman Chuck Hoelscher.

For Will Santana and his wife, swimming at the aquatic center is part of their routine. Together they swim more than five miles a week in the indoor pool.

"It's a dream come true, because there's no other covered pool in our area. We live in Lewis County, so we'd be up to Spring Hill or Lewisburg or I don't know where beyond that," Santana said.

Without the community's support, the center can't go on, and so far, it seems they have it.

"We want to bring in our checkbooks next time and keep it going," Santana said.

The director of the Wellness & Aquatics complex says their fees will be lower than the YMCA, and for the first couple weeks, anyone can come try out the gym free of charge. They hope they'll rebuild membership even stronger than before.

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