I am so proud to live in a city that recognizes the importance of health and wellness in maintaining a vibrant and thriving community.

The value we place on the well-being of our residents is evident in many ways, from our new Rose Run Park to our 45-plus miles of leisure trails to our partnerships that promote healthy lifestyles. One of the most notable investments the city has made in health and wellness has been the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.

As a public/private collaborative project, the New Albany Co. donated the land for the center, and the city funded the Heit Center's construction with bonds that are being paid off by long-term leases signed by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Ohio State and Nationwide Children's Hospital occupy the entire second floor, and Ohio State leases and operates the fitness center on the main floor. The remainder of the first floor is occupied by Healthy New Albany, a local nonprofit designed to promote and embrace healthy living. Healthy New Albany helps help manage the facility and partners with the city of New Albany on a number of initiatives that provide opportunities for physical, emotional and social well-being.

One of our most recent joint initiatives was the launch of Studio 55+. Last year, my fellow council members and I approved funding for this weekly program for those 55 and older.

Studio 55+ provides seniors in the area with a place to get together with their neighbors every Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Both residents and nonresidents of New Albany have the opportunity to enjoy coffee and light refreshments and to participate in different activities every week, such as chair yoga, book club, healthful cooking and nutrition classes and even a smartphone tutorial.

In the coming year, Healthy New Albany intends to help us expand Studio 55+ beyond Thursday morning programming. The organization is planning a casino night for March 4 and is looking at a number of other ways to help our seniors stay active and social throughout 2020.

The feedback we have received thus far regarding this program has been extremely positive. One participant had tears in her eyes when she told me how grateful she has been for Studio 55+ because it has allowed her to develop some much-needed friendships. I encourage you to help us continue to expand and evolve Studio 55+ so that it meets the needs of as many of our seniors as possible.

If you are 55 and older, stop by and take part in this valuable community asset and let us know what you think. Registration in advance is not necessary -- simply show up at the Heit Center on a Thursday morning, and the Healthy New Albany team will register you in person on your first visit. Registration is free for residents within New Albany corporate limits and only $25 for the entire year's activities for nonresidents. You can learn more about Studio 55+ and other Heit Center programs at healthynewalbany.org.

Marlene Brisk is a New Albany City Council member.