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Membership costs would rise for new wellness center

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Would memberships for the proposed new Wadena wellness center be affordable for people in Wadena? The question has been asked both in and out of city council meetings.

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The proposed replacement wellness center would have the community center facilities and a pool in the same building. Before the tornado, the community center and the municipal pool were separate, and some area residents purchased memberships for only one or the other.

Perkins + Will hired Ballard-King to make budget estimates for the proposed wellness center. The projections for annual memberships were $240 for youth, $300 for seniors and $540 for a family.

The numbers were for all-access, with both fitness and pool. There were no estimates for separate passes for people who only use fitness or people who only use the pool.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said health insurance companies often provide discounts for fitness clubs.

"Health club memberships are generally up to $20 bucks [discount] a month, and it depends on the insurance company, so people have to check with their insurer," he said. "For example, myself, a state employee - our agreement with our employer, the state of Minnesota, does not allow for a health club membership reimbursement."

This year, the Wadena Community Center has an annual sticker price membership of $220 for a single person, $325 for a family and $140 a year for a high school student or senior citizen. Rates for only part of the year and day passes are also available.

Manager Randy Jahnke said that pretty much all the major insurance companies provide a discount or reimbursement for checking in a set number of times each month.

According to Public Works Director Ron Bucholz, the pool pass for a single person was $40 and a family pass was $80 in 2010 - the year it was destroyed by the tornado. Swimming lessons had an extra fee. Open swim was $1.50 for a child for a day, $3 for an adult for a day and $3 a day for lap swimming. The outdoor pool was only open during the summer season.

Wolden said that when comparing costs, one should keep in mind that the outdoor pool was only open about three months a year, while the proposed indoor pool within the community center would be open all year long.

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