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McKinley YMCA Building Owner Plans New Fitness Facility in Its Place

When the McKinley Family YMCA in Champaign County (IL) relocates to its newly built facility in southwest Champaign, the building will not remain empty for long. Leon Jeske, the owner of the building, plans to open the McKinley Fitness Center in its place. The new facility will offer its members the use of two swimming pools, a gymnasium and fitness facilities.

Jeske said he does not want to take members away from the Champaign County YMCA, but he wants to offer use of the centrally located swimming pools and gym to people who want recreational facilities close to the heart of the city, according to the The News-Gazette.

Jeske plans to offer swimming, basketball, aerobics, water aerobics and yoga, while encouraging community residents to contact the McKinley Fitness Center about other programming they would like to see offered.

Jeske is working with Dan McCulley, who for two decades operated The Body Firm and Gold's Gym fitness centers in Champaign and Urbana, and Donna Wright, former membership director for the Champaign County YMCA, the newspaper reported.

The center is expected to open about a week after the YMCA moves out later this month. The new facility will need to attract about 500 members to pay for itself. The YMCA previously occupying the building had about 3,100 members, including children.

Jeske bought the property for $450,000 last year, according to The News-Gazette, and has been making energy-saving improvements to the building over the past year in hopes of cutting fuel bills. The work included replacing windows, insulating steam pipes, replacing some sections of roof, tuck-pointing bricks and repairing the brick wall that outlines the property.

The original building dates back to 1910 when it served as a private residence. In 1938 a citizens' group bought the home to transform into a YMCA, upon a bequest from Sen. William McKinley.

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