Smyrna Residents Upset Over Fitness Center Closing
by Jason Lamb
SMYRNA, Tenn. – Smyrna neighbors upset over a recent decision to shut down the town's fitness facility planned a gathering at town hall Tuesday, hoping to get that decision reversed.
While the closure, set to take place at the end of June, was already approved by the city manager as a money saving measure, folks at the meeting wanted to know why they didn't get more of a say.
Town manager Harry Gill, Jr. said even with membership fees at the fitness center, keeping the facility open costs Smyrna taxpayers $200,000 a year. He said with new private and non-profit gyms opening up nearby, the Smyrna fitness center just isn't needed anymore.
On top of that, the town manager said more than half the people who use the treadmills, weights and pool at the fitness center don't even live in town, leaving Smyrna taxpayers paying for a facility many of them don't use.
Those opposed to the closure said having folks from out of town use the fitness center shouldn't be considered a bad thing.
“Everybody that comes here probably ends up going to Kroger, Walmart, or McDonald's to get something to drink,” said Rudy Thacker, who opposes the center’s closure. “I can't imagine a politician saying we don't want out of town money coming into our town.”
Gill said he hopes to re-purpose the building, perhaps as a nature center, and sell some of the new weights the center just purchased, or give them to the fire department.