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YMCA buys West Kittanning health club

| Thursday, May 15, 2014, 11:55 p.m.
Louis B.Ruediger | Leader Times
Pictured from left to right are: YMCA CEO Joely Beeker; former Mac's Health Club co-owners Larry and Janet McKelvey; YMCA President Stan Berdell; YMCA Board Director Richard G. Snyder. Wednesday May 14, 2014

Just two years after opening in Kittanning, the Richard G. Snyder YMCA campus will soon expand its reach across the Allegheny River to offer extended services to the wider community.

YMCA officials this week announced the purchase of Mac's Health Club at 316 First Ave. in West Kittanning and its plan to turn the 6,300-square-foot club into a satellite facility for ages 16 and up.

“We came to a mutual agreement about two months ago,” said Larry McKelvey, who founded the health club in 1993 in East Franklin before moving in 2000 to the Kittanning location.

“I'm proud of the fact that we had a business for 20 years — we're excited to pass that along,” he said.

Richard G. Snyder, board director and donor of the land for the Kittanning YMCA, said the acquisition was positive for the community since it allows an exercise facility to continue in the same location.

“I think it was a great thing we were able to accept it — given that it is in a residential area,” he said.

For now, the club will continue to run on its same schedule, said Joely Beeker, YMCA CEO. On June 30, it will open as a YMCA branch. From that day through July 31, new fitness classes will be offered.

Janet McKelvey, former co-owner of Mac's, plans to continue teaching an exercise class there when the transition is final. She and YMCA staff will discuss what fitness classes will be offered, such as Mac's popular “Boom Boom Pow” lower body toning, Beeker said.

The facility will close from July 31 through Aug. 15 to allow for YMCA branding, painting and equipment upgrades. There will be an official grand opening on Aug. 16.

A membership rate increase will take affect for new members on June 1, and on Oct. 1 for current members.

Stan Berdell, YMCA board president, said the decision to increase rates was made before a deal was made with the McKelveys.

He said that even though the number of members has increased over the last two years, from 730 to 1,300, the YMCA is losing money.

“We cannot operate on a deficit or we will end up like the old Y,” Berdell said.

He was referring to the YMCA along Water Street near the Kittanning Citizens Bridge that was in a state of deterioration for years prior to closing.

“It was a tough decision to raise rates, because we don't want to drive anyone away,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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