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South City Family YMCA celebrates new look, new ways to play

SOUTHWEST GARDEN – The swimming’s great at the South City Family YMCA. The fitness center’s as good as ever, and so is the child care.

Still, the people in charge of the facility at 3150 Sublette Ave. decided something was missing.

“We decided  that after 20 years, she needed a little bit of a facelift,” said Belynda Woods, associate executive director at the Y.

The place opened in December 2000, just short of two decades ago, so it was time.

“Our carpets needed to be replaced,” Woods said. “It’s faded and stained. And the paint? It was dated.”

With that complaint, the facility arranged for workers to splash gallons of paint on the walls of its fitness center and replace the beat-up old carpets in the same area with rubber flooring. When the job’s done, there will be a grand reopening on Nov. 12, when Y members and non-members can try out the freshened facilities.

The kick-off of the grand reopening will be from 9 to 10 a.m. and will include drawings for classes. Personal trainers will be available to give demonstrations. There will be free snacks and a trail mix bar all day until they run out.

Non-members can come as a guest if they bring a photo identification.

It’s called a grand reopening, but the Y was never closed. The work was done in phases, so none of the activity had to stop.

The work started on Oct. 18, when workers painted and installed flooring in phases in different parts of the fitness center, including the cardio room, the functional fitness area and the weight room.

“The way we’re structuring it, we’re not impacting our classes,” Woods said.

“We’re creating a more functional fitness space in the front,” she added.

Besides the new paint and carpeting, the Y will have a new piece of exercise equipment, a Synergy 360. It’s big enough to exhaust a class of 20, Woods said.

“It looks like a jungle gym, and a lot of different pieces will attach to it,” she said.

A number of people at a time can use it for personal training, Woods said.

“It doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it provides a lot of functionality,” said John Broadway, health and wellness director at the Y. “It just takes up less space and leaves more area for other equipment to come on.”

The equipment enables different people to do a variety of exercises, including resistance training pull-ups, step-ups on a platform, leg raises, bicep curls, landmine chest presses, ab twists, tricep extension and assisted squats. It does resemble a jungle gym – in a high-tech, multidimensional new playground.

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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