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BETTENDORF, Iowa — The City of Bettendorf is considering selling Life Fitness Center to the YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley. It’s part of a partnership between the two groups for a multi-million dollar proposal to reimagine Bettendorf’s Middle Park.
“The Landing” includes a new water park and ice rink that will replace the current Splash Landing and Frozen Landing at Middle Road and 23rd Street.
The water zone will feature a three-story tall slide tower, new pools and a lazy river, while the new 176-foot long ice rink can be converted into a turf area during the off-season.
The proposal also involves converting the Life Fitness Center to a youth-focused Y recreation center.
The City of Bettendorf purchased the building in the 1980s and the gym offers fitness classes and indoor track and tennis courts.
The proposed new YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley facility would house an Early Learning Center for 100 children, a gymnastics/ninja center, indoor recreational soccer and basketball programs, summer recreational sports camps and a youth personal training center.
“There’s a lot of opportunities for kids to do traveling sports, travel ball and you’re competitive,” said YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley President Brad Martell. “There’s not a lot of places for the recreational kid who wants to play basketball games, not 60 in a season, just wants to do eight to ten soccer games.”
But the potential sale is leaving some Life Fitness Center members frustrated.
“It raises my blood pressure,” said 38-year member Ann Stern. “There’s about 847 memberships. That’s not just people, but memberships. And all of us are very concerned that there’ll be no place for us to go… There’s nothing negative about doing something for youth or having a swimming pool. It’s just negative because you’re turning out 847 people that truly enjoy using this community center.”
Some members, like David Arbogast, said they’ve tried going to other YMCAs, but prefer the quieter, less crowded atmosphere of the Life Fitness Center.
“The people, the staff, the camaraderie, the quietness, the perfect room, I’ll miss it all,” Arbogast said. “I’m very disappointed. It doesn’t leave me many options. I’ll probably have to go back to the Y, and I’m not looking forward to it.”
“We see each other most of the time and there’s not a whole lot of people here, it’s an older clientele, mostly retired. And so we visit and workout and so it’s kind of a social thing too, I guess, for some people,” Ron Kintner said. “I like this. Here is all I know. I don’t (want) it to go.”
Bettendorf residents are invited to take a survey about “The Landing” which will be open until Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. So far, over 2,500 people have taken the survey.
The results of the survey will be presented at the city council meeting on Sept. 6. During that meeting, City Council will decide whether or not to set a public hearing about the project. That public hearing would take place on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. and a vote on the project would happen immediately after.
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