Citywide belt-tightening could result in shorter hours for the LHN Rec Center.  Unfortunately, shorter hours will disrupt the popular aerobic and fitness classes that have become tradition for many in the neighborhood. We;ve been following the budget situation here and here.

Buzz at the Rec Center is that the Park and Recreation Department’s proposal to the city will shorten hours at all facilities to an 11:00 a.m. opening, until 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with weekends closed. 

A community has grown around the exercise classes which have been held traditionally (since the 1980s) in the morning from 9:00 to 10:15 M-F.  Additionally, a group of Seniors attend fitness classes from 10:15 through 11:15 MWF.  For many of them the fitness class is one of their main social outlets.

Everyone who attends exercise pays a yearly membership fee to the center, plus a small per use fee on the days they attend.  If the class time changes, the center will lose revenue from many of the members who will not renew their membership or pay to attend at the later time.

Jeanne Larson, the instructor, worries that attendance will fall if the classes are moved to a later time in the day, because for most people it is more convenient to exercise early.  "Once people get out of the habit of coming, they find somewhere else to go, and it takes a long time to build up attendance again."

Larson and a number of class members have written to Lake Highlands Councilman Jerry Allen to ask for help keeping the LHN Rec Center open during the early hours.  Management at the LHN Center is also building a case that attendance at the center is higher in the morning because of the exercise classes than it will be mid-day of the Rec Center’s hours are cut.