Combined with lower membership prices, it's all about accessibility...
For more than seven decades, the building sitting kitty-corner from the downtown YMCA housed Nelson School Supply, a store full of letterman jackets, school uniforms and cases of sparkling class rings.
Nelson closed its doors in the summer of 2015, sparking the interest of the YMCA.
"We were fortunate to be offered the chance to purchase that building by Rick Nelson and his wife," said Katherine Johnson, YMCA director of Marketing and Communications. "We wanted that to be a place for community health efforts. We purchased the building and the property to the left of it for a new parking lot."
Since then, the former Nelson School Supply building has been transformed into the YMCA Healthy Living Center, which opens on Thursday, March 3.
"When you walk in, there are beautiful, new windows that wrap the building. You'll see a big open room where exercise programs will take place, as well as some offices for private meetings and a classroom space with a kitchen for nutritional programs," Johnson said.
Four programs the YMCA has already developed, which currently take place in rented meeting spaces and hospitals around the city, will now be hosted at the Healthy Living Center.
The programs focus on arthritis and joint health, cancer survivorship, weight loss and lifestyle support, and neurological and cardiac rehab.