In a town of less than 150 people, there’s a fitness center with nearly 1,000 members. The Netawaka Fitness Center offers an array of fitness opportunities to surrounding rural communities.
It isn’t your run of the mill fitness center. It includes a pool, gym, basketball court, indoor turf, batting cages, tumbling mats and physical therapy.
It’s taken locals like Larry and Bonnie Eubanks by surprise.
“I had no idea that anything like this would ever be here,” Larry said.
His wife Bonnie was sceptical when she heard about the plans to open a fitness center in Netawaka.
“It was like ‘that’s never going to happen that’s just somebody’s dream’,” Bonnie said. “Well the dream came true and we’re all enjoying it.”
Before the fitness center opened in 2013, Larry Eubanks had knee problems. After working out every morning for the past few years, that’s all changed.
“I thought I’d probably have to have knee surgery, and now they just feel great,” he said.
Bonnie is also noticing the benefits of hitting the gym.
“My strength and balance have improved a lot,” she said.
While fitness is in the name, the center’s General Manager Scott Steffes said it’s more than a place to work out.
“It is a place to come here and have a cup of coffee, bring a sack lunch, play dominoes, play cards, have a good time socializing, meeting new people and making new friends,” he said.
It’s drawn people in from surrounding rural communities. Steffes said much of the money for the $5.2 million dollar facility was donated by Netawaka native Bobbi Reiman and her husband Roy.
“Without them, this place wouldn’t be here,” Steffes said.
It was also payed for through donations by community members.
“We have such a great community of people that do care about this place and realize this truly is an oasis for them to come to and just have a great time, and also get healthier while they’re here,” he said.
The Eubanks said they wouldn’t be as healthy if it weren’t for the fitness center.
“We’re just very blessed to have this here,” Larry said.
The fitness center also offers fitness classes and sports leagues.