Local News

Cary Residents Put Their Money and Their Muscle Into Reopened Health Club

Posted January 9, 2000

— Some Cary residents are so devoted to their favorite health club that they are willing to put their money and their muscles behind it.

Sue Ferrell loves racquetball so much, she was crushed when the health club she had played in for 15 years shut down.

"I was vacationing in New York and came back to a closed club, so I was very disappointed, because I live and breathe racquetball," Ferrell says.

Ferrell was not the only one who was disappointed when the owner of the Cary Athletic Club declared bankruptcy last July, leaving the facility in disrepair.

After two months, two members pooled their money to buy the club and enlisted the help of other members and former employees to get it back in shape.

Not only did members volunteer their time to refurbish the club, they are now volunteering to keep it going.

Mark Palmer is using the skills he learned working on nuclear subs in the Navy to repair and maintain gym equipment.

"A lot of the equipment is relatively easy to work on," he says. "It's just real simple; it's just gears and chains and that sort of thing."

No members are required to do maintenance of any kind, and those who do volunteer get no break on their membership dues.

Still, the manager of what is now called the Cary Fitness & Racquetball Club says there is no lack of support.

"Other than the employees and the type of stuff you have to pay a bill for, everything else has been volunteer," says Amy Cowell.

Volunteers say they do it because the people are friendly, and they know they might not have a club otherwise.

The club reopened about three months ago and has about 300 members.

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