Oceanside Therapy, which is part of Sitka Community Hospital, was asking the city to loan it the equipment from the now-closed Hames Athletic and Wellness Center.

But Tuesday night, hospital CEO Hugh Hallgren asked the Assembly to hold off on making a decision, after learning of a proposal by Eric Speck.

“We’re proposing forming a non-profit with the sole goal of establishing and running a gym for the community of Sitka,” Speck told the Assembly.

Speck says he’s got five people committed to being on the new non-profit group’s board of directors. He said the facility would occupy about 4,000 square feet of the former Allen Marine retail space on Smith Street.

“We would just like to start small,” he said. “We’d like to run a gym without the pool, without the racquetball courts, without the basketball courts. We think we can pay for a gym simply with user fees. We’ve crunched the numbers initially and with a minimum of 200 users we think we can pay the rent.”

If the city lends the old Hames equipment to Speck’s group, he estimates he could get it moved into the building by February 1st, and open a couple weeks later.

Assembly members voted simply to table the idea of loaning the equipment to Sitka Community Hospital. That means they can reconsider it later, if Speck’s group is unable to get off the ground.

Plans to loan the equipment to the group would need to be discussed at a future meeting.
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