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Fitness center to close at Jewish Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens

Posted at 4:54 AM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 04:57:41-04

Some changes are coming to the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

The JCC is closing its state of the art fitness center, which will impact seniors like 83-year-old Nate Light.

He is blind and relies on a caretaker to drive him from his nearby home to the JCC gym to stay healthy.

“I do my cardio every day here," he said.

The gym is closing July 1, leaving few options for him in the area. A quick search show’s the closest facility is Gold’s Gym, which Light said is not the best place for him.

“It will be more difficult for me to go elsewhere. I have to find another driver or pay more money to go further away to find another gym," he said.

The closure has left countless members confused and upset. They reached out WPTV with concerns.

“This is the first place that welcomed me here when I moved here a few years ago," said Karen Tuttle.

“It’s a shame to lose the following that we have with the wonderful instructors," said member Phyllis Frydman.

Instructors said jobs could also be affected, with some people being let go ahead of the changes.

"The instructors that run all of our classes, which are small, aren’t paid all that well and they have to augment their income," said gym member Marc Hirschorn.
JCC staff said there’s a reason for all of the changes — a usage analysis shows not enough people are using the gym.

So, to save on costs and resources, they’ve decided to turn the space into a group fitness studio to fit with current trends. The current space for group classes can only fit about 10 to 15 people and the classes have grown significantly in the past year. 

The equipment in the soon-to-be closed gym will be taken to their campus in Boynton Beach, which is in need of new equipment. The new space will then hold 38 group classes each week to start. 

The JCC hours will also change. Starting July 1, the entire facility will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

The kids' programs are staying in place, which includes daycare, babysitting facility, day camp and pre-school.

Adding to the upset, members said they requested a meeting with the board but were not given a response before a decision was made.

“We don’t have a YMCA in the area. This is the only facility, and it accepts everybody," said Hirschorn.

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