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Medina Community Recreation Center expansion in limbo

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MEDINA — It’s going on three years since talk surfaced about expanding Medina Community Recreation Center at a cost of about $750,000.

To date, the project is still in limbo.

The rec center is a partnership between the city of Medina and Medina Schools. The school district owns the building, and the city operates the facility. Both sides would have to sign off on the addition, even though rec center Director Mike Wright said it will be funded with carryover funds, which are funds left over in the budget from the previous year. He said there is about $2 million in the fund.

Wright hopes to add a 4,836-square-foot addition.

The fitness center would house functional training equipment, such as kettlebells, free weights, climbing ropes and suspension trainers.

“We don’t call it CrossFit,” he said. “That’s a brand name.”

The cost for the building itself will be $626,779 — give or take $15,000 for contingencies, Wright said.

He said the cost of the equipment is $80,000 to $100,000.

Wright said there are several reasons he wants to add on to the rec center that was built in 2003. The biggest is the hope of retaining membership.

“We want to keep the members that we currently have,” he said. “And, (we’d like) to attract new members. We lost a certain percentage with the opening of Rise (Fitness) a few years ago.”

Wright said the rec center would be more competitive with several private gyms that have opened in recent years.

“This is needed to maintain competitiveness,” Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson said. “There are so many new facilities opening up.”

Wright told City’s Council’s Finance Committee this week that 73 percent of the 850 people who responded to the rec center’s survey wanted this new equipment. He said there would be no increase in fees at the rec center if the addition is approved.

He said there are 8,500 to 9,000 current rec center members.

Finance Committee didn’t make any decision on the matter. Council President John Coyne said Council would hold it in the committee until the Medina Board of Education decides whether to approve the addition.

Medina Schools tabled it while trying to pass its 5.2-mill continuing substitute emergency levy in November.

“Just recently, (Medina Schools) approved us to start looking at it again,” Wright said.

It is expected to be discussed at the next School Facilities Committee meeting. From there, the board would likely want to discuss it at a work session.

Wright said he first started talking about the addition in 2015. He said many of the rec centers in the area, including Westlake and Lakewood, have added onto their fitness rooms.

“It seems to be the one thing they all tend to add to because it’s the most-used room in the whole facility,” Wright said.

Bob Arnold, of Arnold Architectural Strategies, of Medina, drew up an estimate last year to present to Wright. Since that time, he said, costs have gone up 9.5 percent.

The highest-priced component of the project will be the interior finish at $99,163, according to Arnold’s figures.

“It all went up from a year ago,” Arnold said. “The aluminum windows have gone up 20 percent.

A lot of it is due to the tariffs.”

The figures he presented to Council were as if the project was going to start immediately.

“If we’re looking at the spring, we’ll have to make a projection that,” Arnold said. “(With the) construction industry, with the threat of tariffs and the price of materials, it’s always a crapshoot.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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