Facility to be available 24/7 for NYM, Perham sites

Photo by Tucker Henderson
The City Center building will house a new fitness center under an agreement between the PACC and New York Mills.

By Barbie Porter


The  City of New York Mills will be getting a workout facility for public use. 

During its reguarly scheduled meeting last week, the NY Mills City Council approved a user agreement between the city and  the Perham Area Community Center. 

Councilman Latham Hetland said the City Center building, which was once the high school, was purchased a while ago for $1.  

The building is located about a block and a half  from the current high school, which will allow students to use the equipment during school hours for classes. Hetland noted, after school hours, students would need a membership to gain access, just like everyone else. He added a full weight room for students will be located at the school as well. 

The fitness center space allows for expansion, but the workout facility will start with 926-square-feet. Equipment, such as treadmills, bicycles,  weight machines and so forth will be donated by the school. Hetland said the city plans to purchase new equipment, in time.

“It will be a work in progress,” he said. “If the community wants it, sees a need for it, then we can always look at expanding or utilizing a larger space.”

He added the current space is in use until Dec. 15, after which minor renovations will be made as well as installing the membership software and making fobs to gain access. Hetland said when memberships become available, the city will be sure to get the word out to the public.

The fitness center partnership between the city, school and PACC is for five years.

Project began in 2017

Latham said several years ago, the city had sessions to define future goals. Bringing a fitness center to town was a top priority for many residents. Private options were examined, as well as potential investment groups. Then  Leigh Shebeck, the executive director of the PACC, pitched an idea. He was reaching out to neighboring communities of Perham to see if a partnership option was viable.

Shebeck said from the discussions, the most common obstacle was finding an investor willing to put upwards of $50,000 into equipment, purchase membership software and find someone to manage the facility.

Eventually the idea of utilizing PACC’s already in place membership software system and management knowledge were discussed.

Shebeck explained when memberships become available for the NY Mills fitness center, those who purchase a membership are also granted access to the PACC at no additional charge. The membership fob allows access to both workout facilities 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Hetland reported the city had a public workout facility in the past. The school allowed residents to utilize the equipment, providing it was not during school hours. 

During COVID-19 shutdowns, the school discontinued that option to follow mandated protocol. Hetland said another shift occurred at the same time, as the district needed classroom space. The fitness center space at the school fit the bill for the learning space needed. 

The change helped push the city-owned fitness center forward with the help of the school district and the PACC.