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YMCA's fitness center to get new equipment

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 12:17 a.m.

Whether it's a posted “out of order” sign or the whining sound of a treadmill belt, Ligonier Valley YMCA Director Ben Wright said the No. 1 complaint of members surveyed is the state of the 20-year-old fitness equipment throughout the facility.

That will change this fall, when the Y replaces most of its machines with brand-new, American-made fitness equipment.

Wright said the Y is buying $185,000 worth of equipment from Cybex, thanks to a grant from the Pittsburgh-basesd Eden Hall Foundation and several individual contributions.

“Last year, ABC's ‘Made in America' series really got me thinking of what a profound impact an organization like the Y could make if every club only bought American-made products,” Wright said. “And then I realized we could do that locally, and it would make a difference. One of the Y's foundations is strengthening communities. Strengthening our national community, also strengthens our local community.”

Most of the cardio equipment will be replaced by the end of this week, Y Program Director Mike Marinchak said. All the strength machines, free weights and fitness class equipment will be replaced as it comes in, but it all should be delievered before the end of the year, Marinchak said.

Wright said every screw, bolt and microchip of the machines are American-made, part of the reason the Eden Hall Foundation awarded the grant.

“Cybex makes one treadmill with a computer component made outside the U.S., and we're not getting that model,” he said.

Wright said he's excited to make changes that will make a huge impact on the Y community.

“Over the last two years we've spent a lot of money investing in the structure of the building. Before we could invest in new equipment, we had to make sure this building was cleaned, updated and safe. But what I'm excited about is how the new equipment will have a huge impact on our members' experience,” he said. “We replaced the roof and air conidtions and redid the locker rooms and put in new lights, but this is a change that people are really going to notice. It will show peole we're investing back into the community just as the community has invested in us.”

The Y's grant application stood out to Eden Hall, because of the way it benefits Ligonier's surrounding communities through the Y's outreach and the use of only American-made products, said Sylvia Field, executive director at Eden Hall Foundation. Eden Hall is a private foundation created by the will of the late Sebastian Mueller, a Pittsburgh philanthropist and vice president of the H. J. Heinze Co. The foundation awards grants in the areas of social welfare, health, education and the arts.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-8502-1218 or