MACEDONIA — When the Macedonia Family Recreation Center reopened June 1, it was basically just to give people a place to exercise at first.
But since then, the Rec Center has begun to increase its offerings, while of course operating within state and CDC health guidelines.
"When we started, we weren’t offering any fitness classes," said Brad Wisniewski, the Rec Center’s membership and marketing coordinator. "It was kind of like, the safety protocols and opening things up and spreading everything out. As we got more comfortable and seeing more people come, we’ve now started to offer some outdoor fitness classes."
Wisniewski said these include Zumba, yoga, tai chi, bootcamp fitness, and SilverSneakers, with the classes staring in June and expected to be expanded in July. He said that some of the classes are in and around the pavilions in Longwood Park and others in a grassy area next to the Rec Center, which is in the park.
"We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from everyone, how safe everybody feels being back," he said.
In addition, Wisniewski said that in July, the Rec Center will begin offering indoor aquatics classes again. He said the number of participants will be limited to allow for 6 feet of distance.
"Even when they’re in the water, they’ll still be at the same social distance," said Wisniewski. "True for the outside classes as well. Outside, we’re able to take a bit more people because of the space. Obviously, we can spread out more. But definitely, it’s still 6 feet in everything that we do."
Wisniewski said registration has also begun for the Jr. Browns Flag Football and youth soccer programs, both in the fall.
"Same thing, we’re following all the governor’s orders and regulations when it comes to youth sports," he said.
Go to http://macrec.com to register for classes and youth sports programs and for schedules. Registration and information is also available by phone at 330-468-8370 or in person at the Rec Center, 1494 East Aurora Road.
When the Rec Center closed in March due to COVID-19, its staff, including five or six full-time employees and about 80 part timers, was laid off. Mayor Nick Molnar, however, said they are all back to work.
"I can say we are going above and beyond what we have to do in terms of sanitizing the facility," said Molnar, adding that the Rec Center staff cleans everything, such as exercise equipment, and patrons are given sanitizer and asked to do their own cleaning.
"We want people to be comfortable with that and know their safety is our highest priority," he said. "So they should feel comfortable to come into the facility to work out."
Macedonia resident Lillie Grier, who rejoined in January after a three-year absence, said while using a treadmill on Thursday that she had missed being able to exercise at the Rec Center during the shutdown.
"I love it. I couldn’t wait," she said.
Wisniewski said activity is still slower at the Rec Center than what it typically was before the shutdown, but attendance has been increasing and he expects it will jump more now that classes are being offered.
"We’re happy to be back, happy to be open, and happy to serve people again," he said. "Our attendance is starting to pick up, kind of week by week, so we’re definitely seeing a lot of familiar faces and a lot of new faces as well."
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.