MEXICO — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday listened to a proposal to reopen the local Fitness Center.
Resident Rich Vitale presented a tentative plan that includes rooms for weight lifting and cardio exercise.
“I’ve had a ton of people coming up to me wondering when the center is going to reopen,” Vitale told the board. “I figure that the longer it’s closed, the less revenue the town receives. Fitness is my passion. I live, eat and breathe it, and I’m willing to dedicate 16 to 20 hours of my week so I can get the center open and running again.”
Selectmen voted Oct. 23, 2012, to close the center after its operator failed to pay the liability insurance on time. However, during that meeting, Selectman Reggie Arsenault said there was still the possibility for the fitness center to reopen with a new operator.
Vitale explained to the board that he has been brainstorming ideas on how to get the fitness center running the way it used to be, including reopening rooms for weight lifting and cardio exercise. He also said that it may be possible to implement martial arts or karate classes.
“I know a woman from Bethel who said she would come to the center if we were to open up karate classes,” Vitale said.
In addition to reopening classes, Vitale said he wanted to implement outdoor activities, such as soccer, baseball and flag football programs.
Vitale, who also works at the Big Apple gas station, proposed to the board that he would charge a flat rate of $30 a month for residents interested in membership, with “no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Chairman Richie Philbrick questioned whether residents could implement a payment plan for the membership costs, but Vitale disagreed.
“Some people spend $40 on scratch tickets, so it seems reasonable that people could come up with $30 once a month,” Vitale said.
Vitale later told the board that in his proposal, he estimated the town would receive $330 a month and proposed a 70/30 split of membership fees, where Vitale would receive 70 percent of the fees while the town received 30 percent.
“For me to invest as much time as I’m proposing, I’ll have to give up a day of work at my other job,” Vitale said, “which is why I proposed the split. I also estimated low with the $330 to account for people losing interest or going on vacation.”
The Board of Selectmen told Vitale that if they were to accept his proposal, they would need the money for the liability insurance up front due to the problems they had with the previous operator.
Vitale assured the board he would pay the money.
“When I was in the Navy, I ran a medical supply unit and helped manage budgets, so I know how it is,” Vitale said. “If I say you’ll get the money, you’ll get the money.”
Philbrick invited Vitale to the next selectmen’s meeting Jan. 22 and asked him to bring a detailed schedule of how many hours he plans to keep the fitness center open, whether he would pay on a monthly or weekly basis and whether there would be any volunteers.
“If you come back here with a plan, we can start looking to the future,” Philbrick said. “If all goes well, and the proposal works out, we’ll try to get the fitness center up and running right away.”