By JOY BROWN
Findlay is poised to spend $15,000 to repair and upgrade fitness equipment at the city gym.
But some members of City Council’s Appropriations Committee were surprised to learn the city has a gym, and had questions about the proposal this week.
The equipment upgrade is part of the city’s capital improvements plan for the year.
Located in a walled-off portion of a building that fronts South West Street and houses the city’s work-release program, the city’s fitness center offers cardio, weight and resistance equipment for all city employees to use for free, at any time of the day or night.
The most frequent fitness center users have been police officers and firefighters who need to remain fit for their jobs. But city officials are hoping a wellness program, offered through health insurance plans, will draw more employees there.
“Why do we have a gym?” 6th Ward Councilman Andy Douglas asked this week during an Appropriations Committee meeting. Others at the meeting wondered why the city doesn’t offer discounts to public fitness centers instead.
“It started as a contract provision for the Police Department,” Deputy Auditor Ginger Sampson said.
“I would think the Police Department likes the fact that it’s (city gym) not open to the public. I know I wouldn’t want to be lifting weights next to some guy that I just threw cuffs on,” Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said.
Schmelzer said memberships in other gyms would be “a significantly larger amount of money.” Most cost hundreds annually, and he said only one other fitness center in town provides 24-hour service.
Findlay Police Officer Brian Dill said some of the city gym’s equipment is so outdated and in such poor shape that the manufacturer won’t service it.
The city wants to buy cardio equipment, a squat rack, kettlebells, bicep curling bars, hex bars and rubber plates.
Dill said the Findlay-Family YMCA is willing to help city workers at the gym with workouts, nutrition guidance, and perhaps a lunchtime fitness program, in exchange for in-kind Police Department work at its buildings.
Patrolman Tracy Love has also been helping city workers at the gym and is willing to continue, Dill said.
“With the health assessments that were conducted in 2013, most of us found out there are some areas where we need improvement,” Dill said.