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Crown Point BZA OKs outdoor fitness studio space at Southlake YMCA
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Crown Point BZA OKs outdoor fitness studio space at Southlake YMCA

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CROWN POINT — The Dean and Barbara White Southlake YMCA is getting ready to bulk up its services come fall 2020. 

On Tuesday, DVG Project Engineer Ryan Marovich presented Board of Zoning Appeals members with plans for an outdoor fitness studio that is set to occupy the northeast corner of the YMCA. 

"The structure is stylized to fit the YMCA’s branding and has been used at other YMCAs across the country," Marovich said. "The structure ... will allow for storage of exercise equipment and can be used as part of the classes that the YMCA will offer."

The structure will be a 340-square-foot metal shipping container and will be near a synthetic turf outdoor exercise area, said Planning Administrator Anthony Schlueter. 

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The storage container is not permitted as permanent storage in a R-1 residential zone, per city code, Schlueter said, adding the YMCA is not a typical residential use, but "does serve as a complement and benefit to the surrounding residential area."

The planning department recommended approval of the project, so long as board members thought it would enhance the area, he added. 

Marovich pointed out there are other storage containers in the area, and the east side of the structure will be screened from Main Street using arborvitae trees. There also will be a parking lot expansion south of the field, with a berm to the north. 

The entire area will have ornamental fencing around it. 

A number of YMCAs are installing similar structures, most of which have logos and lighting installed along the top edge of the container, Marovich said. The containers also have traditional doors, as well as cut out sides. 

The structure is "crucial" to the exercise field to allow storage of exercise equipment, lighting and additional materials, he added. 

There will not be restrooms in the structure, Marovich said. 

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Russ Pozen, director of engineering with DVG, added the "hip and new" shipping containers have been successful at other YMCAs. 

CEO of Crossroads YMCA Jay Buckmaster said Southlake YMCA is excited for the opportunity. 

“We see it as an outdoor fitness studio," Buckmaster said. "Again, as popular as the Crown Point Y has been, to continue to have space and options for people — especially to enjoy the outdoors, that fresh air — and just a real flexible workout space."

Buckmaster said the space can be used for different fitness classes, as well as for outdoor fitness testing. 

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BZA Chair Dan Rohaley said he was kind of shocked to see the building, but warmed up to it.

"We certainly want the city of Crown Point to be on the cutting edge of any national trend, God forbid,” Rohaley said. 

The board approved the project 4-0. Member Dick Sauerman was absent. 

Also Tuesday, the BZA unanimously approved smaller lots for three locations in a B-2 business district.

Lots in a B-2 zone typically need to be 100 feet wide, Schlueter said. The developer requested three locations — 1205, 1207 and 1209 N. Main St. — be granted a variance to allow 75-foot wide lots. 

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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