GARY — Revenue at Hudson-Campbell Sports & Fitness is considerably up this year and projected to grow in 2019, thanks to renovations to the interior, officials said.
The sports complex has taken in about $142,000 in revenue so far in 2018, compared to $127,000 in 2016. In 2017, the facility took in considerably less — $115,000 — but that was due to ongoing construction and periodic closures, according to Parks Supervisor Nathanial George.
Interior improvements since 2017 resulted in new locker rooms, new lighting, new flooring, fresh paint and a new basketball court on the first level of the center.
George said Hudson-Campbell is now a recipient of the nationwide SilverSneakers program, which subsidizes senior-tailored classes and gym memberships for seniors. For years, the center struggled to become a member of the network, he explained to Finance Committee members recently.
George said a front desk attendant recently received training to become a SilverSneakers instructor, so the Parks Department is raising her annual part-time salary from $14,332 to $16,380. Because the SilverSneakers pay for senior membership under this program, the fitness center wins out.
The chair yoga classes generate about $600 in yearly revenue, he said. The classes have been so popular, the instructor is adding a third class to the weekly offerings starting next year, he said. The classes will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
Councilman at large Herbert Smith pressed George about the need for a new marketing plan for the fitness center.
“Now that we’ve done all these upgrades, what are we doing to get the word out?” Smith said.
George reassured Smith marketing is in the works for the city's largest indoor recreation facility, but delayed exterior renovations need to be completed before he moves forward. Work should be completed by July, he said.
“A lot of times when people come inside, they’re shocked when the outside doesn’t match the inside. Once we get the exterior part completed, we’ll have a grand reopening and go (full throttle) on marketing,” George said.
Memberships have grown from 1,497 in 2016 to 2,500 in 2018, though not all members are active, George said. The facility had about 700 active members in 2017, according to Times archives.
George said staff is working to re-engage these members.
Revenue should grow by 20 percent next year as staff rolls out the marketing plan, George said.
Marquette Park Pavilion
A revamped marketing plan is also in the works at Marquette Park Pavilion, the city’s premiere wedding and event venue, said Kamisha Jackson, interim director.
Though the pavilion stays busy during peak wedding season, it is a struggle to book events during the off-season, which runs December through March, she said.
“We’re trying to create specials for Marquette so we can fill up those weekends also. Our goal is to have an event every week, all 52 weeks, to bring new faces in, to generate more revenue," he said.
George said if pavilion staff can bring in people for smaller-scale events, perhaps they will consider Marquette for large events in the off-season.
“The off-season, sometimes, it’s the difference between being able to sustain ourselves and make future investments or you just barely scraping by,” George said.
So far in 2018, the pavilion has generated about $498,519 in revenue. Smith said the venue should be doing even better because Marquette is partially subsidized by the city’s coffers.
“We should have people crawling … to rent Marquette,” Smith said.
Some council members argued Marquette should be pricing itself more competitively with venues in south Lake County.