New Hudson-Campbell manager has big plans
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent February 17, 2013 11:16PM
Updated: March 19, 2013 6:12AM
GARY — Parks and Recreation Board members have heard encouraging news from the new manager of the 26-year-old Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center.
Nathan George, hired last month, evaluated the facilities and laid out a plan for the board last week on how to collect more revenue and boost membership at the downtown center.
It remained unclear how the Parks Department will reconcile the $450,000 budgeted to make the building more compliant with federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements with the bids that came in for the project, the lowest at more than $1 million.
Clean-up and much-needed maintenance are two keys to a successful center, George told the board.
“If I’m bringing people into the facility, and it’s not up to par, I’m actually doing more harm,” he said of the center, with City Hall its neighbor to the west. “Not only are we representing a facility, but we’re representing the city as a whole.”
The center’s strengths are its basketball courts, which draw competitive games every week, its batting cages and tennis courts, George said. He also will meet with instructors and other service providers at the center to get the best deal for the city, George said.
Managers also have clamped down on visitors entering the workout areas free of charge, and, over the next 60 days, George said he will develop a new rate plan for renting out room at the center, boost its social media presence and institute regular meetings with staff and supervisors.
Another way to generate more revenue may be to encourage city employees to use their discount memberships at Hudson-Campbell, said Parks Superintendent Lori Peterson Lathan.
Those employees can pay for memberships with payroll deductions, she said.
“Not only have I seen the plan, but I’ve been in the building, and I’m starting to see some positive improvements,” said Park Board President Dwight Gardner.