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Life Fitness expands to meet needs


The city of Bettendorf bought the Life Fitness Center and opened it to the public in 1984 after spending $900,000 on renovations. The center has 2,100 memberships.

The Bettendorf Life Fitness Center, the most comprehensive city-owned fitness center in the area, has been a roaring success since it was opened by the city of Bettendorf in 1984.

The center, at 2222 Middle Road, recently underwent a $900,000 expansion and renovation. ``There were times when there wasn't enough room to accommodate members,'' Steve Grimes, Bettendorf parks and recreation director, said. ``This allowed us to grow in numbers and serve the entire family.''

Rita VanWetzinga, recreation manager for the fitness center, said they added an additional gym to make three basketball courts, and extended the track and put in an additional weight room. Other changes included a new cardio room with 28 pieces of equipment, a new nursery, remodeled locker rooms and a new set of restrooms.

The Life Fitness Center has 2,100 memberships, which may be held by families, couples or single people, according to Ms. VanWetzinga.

Bettendorf residents are charged a yearly fee of $140 dollars, while non-residents are charged $185. Additional fees are charged for aerobic classes and tennis courts.

The city bought the former tennis club in 1983, and a steering committee was formed to turn it into a fitness center for the community.

``It was seen as a very smart purchase,'' Ms. VanWetzinga said. ``Because it is in the center of the community, close to the Middle pool and in the main thoroughfare, the city decided that it had definite possibilities as a main attraction for residents of not only Bettendorf, but the Quad-Cities as a whole.''

Before that, the city's community center was used for various activities, including an adult volleyball program, Ms. VanWetzinga said. Many children's activities took place in the Middle School gym.

``So many activities were being hosted there that the schedule would fill up and there wouldn't be any other time slots to reserve,'' she said.

Over the years, as the demands and needs of the community increased, it became evident a new site was needed. So when the tennis club became available, the city council bought it, Ms. VanWetzinga said.

Although the Middle School gym still is used, and drop-in fitness hours for jogging and weight-lifting still are held there on Wednesday nights, the Life Fitness Center now hosts most of the activities.

For additional information on the Life Fitness Center, call 344-4119.

-- By Elizabeth Trego (February 2, 1998)

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