Biggest fitness center in the city is about more than exercise
Published 10:34 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014
NO. 23: Albert Lea Family Y
The YMCA in Albert Lea has roots that go back to July 24, 1914. The 50,000-square-foot building on the west side of the city at 2021 W. Main St. dates to 1972.
There are about 3,200 members of the organization. The organization does not deny access due to inability to pay the membership fee, said Executive Director Dennis Dieser. And toward that goal, the Family Y raised $159,000 last year, he said.
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It places at No. 23 on the Tribune’s list of 25 favorite places of Albert Leans. It goes by the name Albert Lea Family Y because even though it is under the umbrella of the YMCA organization, the Family Y sprung as a merger of the Albert Lea YMCA and YWCA in 1975.
Popularly known for being the leading location in Albert Lea for exercise, Dieser likes to remind people its mission is more than fitness. He said the Albert Lea Family Y operates more as a community center.
It offers youth programs, child care, summer camps, after-school programs, preschool, Youth in Government, Builders Club, Model United Nations, to name a few. A health club wouldn’t have Foosball and pool tables, right? And the C in YMCA stands for Christian.
“We do an assortment of activities to meet the needs of the community,” he said.
To be sure, Family Y has fitness. It offers basketball, racquetball and volleyball leagues. A mile on the track above the gym takes 15 1/2 laps. There is a pool with swimming lessons, exercise classes and lap swims. The Y is a spot for all kinds of athletics: spinning classes, kettlebell lifting, tae kwon do, Zumba and on and on.
What draws many people to the Family Y daily is the Spirit Mind Body Room. With a row of treadmills right along the front windows, this room offers what gym-goers seek: stair-steppers, ellipticals, stationary bikes, weight machines and free weights, among other amenities.
There are three full-time employees and 50 part-time workers. Down the road, Dieser and his organization would like to see a new building, one more centrally located and better designed.
25 favorite places
The Tribune staff compiled what it feels are the 25 favorite places of Albert Leans. The results will be published over the course of the coming month. What will be No. 1? Agree or disagree, it will be enjoyable to mull over and discuss. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.