StarTribune Follows the Money on Fitness Center Subsidies (kind of)

Here’s a fun one in the StarTribune that was sent in by a Deets reader:

From weightlifting to Zumba, more Minnetonka residents are taking their workouts to one central place: the city’s fitness center.

Attendance at the city-owned Williston Fitness Center has skyrocketed since it underwent a $4.5 million renovation in 2010. This year, membership is expected to peak at 8,400; users will top 300,000. For the first time, the city has closed nonresident memberships.

Fitness popularity. A solid trend piece. Cool.

“It’s tough to keep up with demand,” Minnetonka Recreation Director Dave Johnson said. “It’s something our community really needs.”

That place is really crushing it.

More metro suburbs are getting into the fitness fad, rivaling private health clubs in amenities with everything from rock climbing to water parks. Eden Prairie and Shoreview are both considering multimillion-dollar additions to their heavily used centers. And St. Louis Park is weighing building a new community center.

Wow. Public fitness centers are giving private ones a run for their money. What are they doing differently?

However, not all cities can afford such high-end facilities or get taxpayers to foot the bill.

Wait. What?

Running the center will cost the city about $3.3 million this year.

A $3.3 million annual subsidy?

Unlike most city-owned centers, the Chaska center is self-supporting.

Hold on. I thought the StarTribune just said that they suck $3.3 million out of taxpayer to make the numbers work.

Debt service on improvements is funded through transfers from the city’s municipal electric utility.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Ah, so it’s self-supporting after sucking $3.3 million/year out of people who happen to use electricity in the city.

It took two StarTribune reporters to write this.

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