The Twin Lakes Family Wellness Center still has a long way to go, but just a few months after some considerable financial stress and high debt, the facility, its staff and board seem to be on track in making the health facility self-sufficient.

Retired pastor Bobby Grant, the main proponent of the Wellness Center, gave a positive update on the progress being made in getting the building back on its feet, especially financially. He credits a new hard working director, dedicated staff and community support for the positive outlook.

A primary component of making the facility financially self-sufficient is that of switching from the use of propane to natural gas to fuel the building and its swimming pool–which is now re-opened and in use. Grant noted bids for construction of that transitional project should be advertised for within a few weeks.

The Wellness Center Board of Directors is making that change using the remaining grant funds that were available and recently released by the Clinton Fiscal Court for that purpose, as well as other upgrades.

Grant said that once the actual work to make the heating source transition and laying the gas lines “won’t take long after it’s started.” He also credited Wellness Center patron and supporter Roger Barber for helping with the line issue and saving on the cost of the overall project.

He further noted the new system that will be installed is different that originally planned, noting the system now to be used should save even more money out of the grant as it recycles the energy used in the building, which should cut down on operating costs.

It is hoped the transition in energy sources to natural gas should be completed by late summer or early fall.

At a fiscal court meeting back in the spring, when several residents appeared to show support for the Wellness Center, it was estimated that switching energy sources to natural gas would save tens of thousands of dollars per year in operating costs.

Other than the energy savings that should greatly deflate the center’s financial problems, new programs being put in place, plus the re-opening of the swimming pool, is expected to make the facility more self-sufficient.

Grant said that since the pool has re-opened, membership has increased and is “increasing on a weekly basis.” The pool is open to non-members on Sunday afternoons at a minimal usage fee. He also noted that participation in the aerobics classes have more than doubled recently. “Things are definitely looking up,” he added.

Pastor Grant gave a lot of credit to the facility’s new director, Charlotte Dick, for working tirelessly to come up with new programs for all age groups and encouraged the public to call or come by the facility to find out what is available or what may be of interest to them or their families.

Another major initiative that may be coming soon is that of making the Wellness Center available to the public 24 hours per day, using a “card swipe” system for patrons.

Grant feels this will have a major positive impact and help gain more membership. For example, he said that people who work second or third shifts, such as the Keystone Foods plant, would be able to use the facility after work–even if that time is midnight or 2 a.m. “It will be a shot in the arm once its enacted,” he continued, saying the board, through volunteers and other sources, getting the funds together now to implement the 24/7 opening.

Apparently the overall indebtedness, that is still a problem to be worked through, is being reduced somewhat. “We are on more stable ground and paying off the people who gave us supplies,” Grant said, adding “we’re holding our own.”

He noted the board now has a budget in place and they were sticking with that budget and said they have cut back on some things is helping. All of this, along with new memberships, help increase revenue. He said there was a group that has volunteered to help pay and keep an eye on everything, making things go more smoothly all the way around.

Grant also said the facility was drawing up ideas for new programs and services from its members as well, such as what type classes or programs to offer to draw members and non-members alike.

Even though the Wellness Center is far away at the present from being completely debt-free and self-sufficient financially, the board–with the help of members and the community-at-large, seems to be headed on the right track.

Anyone interested in the Twin Lakes Family Wellness Center, including programs, classes or other services they offer, are invited to visit the facility or phone (606) 387-9622 for more information.