New Albany News

City to subsidize residents' fees for new health center


New Albany City Council on July 1 agreed to give residents a discount to use the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, which is expected to open at Johnstown and Village Hall roads in January 2015.

City Manager Joseph Stefanov said the center would be different from other fitness centers because it would have a one-time fee members would pay for a health assessment.

The fee would be $299 for a single membership, $549 for a couple and $599 for a family.

The health assessment would measure muscle, balance and body index and test blood levels for cholesterol, glucose and gluten levels. It also assesses bone-mineral density test and body fat composition.

Members would be given something similar to a stress test to measure their exercise tolerance, and the opportunity to work with an exercise physiologist to set personal goals for the individual, said Tracy Ingram, the center's executive director.

Ingram said members would be given the assessment twice: once when they join the center and in six months to a year later. Members' assessments would be included in an anonymous study to measure improvements made between the two assessments.

Ingram said one of the goals of the center will be to improve the community's health.

All new members will be given the opportunity to receive 75 percent off the assessment fee if they sign up within the first month after membership sales open Aug. 11, she said.

The center now has an office at 68 N. High St., Building E. Memberships will be sold at the office starting Aug. 11.

Monthly rates will be $89 for a single membership, $129 for a couple and $144 for a family, she said.

City Council agreed July 1 to give city residents a 75 percent discount on the assessment within the first year but excluded the first month because the discount already applies to any new member.

The resolution, which was approved 6-1 with Sloan Spalding abstaining, offers a 60 percent discount on the assessment for members who join from July 15, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, in the center's second and third years.

Stefanov said the city would subsidize the discount, which could an estimated $375,000 over the three years. The estimate is based on the center acquiring 70 percent of the 3,000 members it could accept.

Councilman Glyde Marsh said the city should consider subsidizing the fee for Plain Township residents and residents within the New Albany-Plain Local School District, as well, but Councilwoman Colleen Briscoe said that would be inappropriate for the city to use taxes collected to subsidize fees for people who don't live in the city limits.

The 55,000-square-foot community-health facility is being built by the Daimler Group on land donated to the city by the New Albany Co.

The first floor of the facility will be managed by the nonprofit Healthy New Albany. The first floor will include meeting rooms and a demonstration kitchen.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will lease space for personalized health care and injury prevention. The Wexner Medical Center also will work with Integrated Wellness Partners to manage the fitness facility and a three-lane therapeutic pool.

Nationwide Children's Hospital will lease space for an orthopedic clinic and a sports-medicine clinic for children and adolescents.