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Elks’ fitness facility upgrade attracting new membership

Improvements include replacing old pool with new workout room

The Hood River Elks Lodge will welcome more than a dozen new members at its next meeting — a direct result, says Manager Gary Griffith, of recently remodeled athletic facilities at the downtown Hood River location.

The most notable change of the roughly $15,000 in changes is a new cardio and weight room where the swimming pool once was. The pool, formerly a member favorite, fell into disrepair in recent years and was deemed too expensive to fix and maintain. With weights, treadmills, exercise bikes and other machinery now in a designated room, the space that equipment once occupied outside the racquetball courts is now available for other activities like basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer.

“The pool just wasn’t very economical,” Griffith said. “Years and years ago it was a lot of fun, but it eventually just became a catch-all for a bunch of junk.”

With polished concrete floors, a big-screen TV and a variety of apparatuses, the well-lit new workout room will appeal to more people and has already proven a draw for new, younger members.

“We’re really trying to appeal to new, younger members with these improvements,” Griffith said. “It’s a way to get people in the doors. Once people join, they see the benefits of everything else the club has to offer.”

Current membership fees are $142 a year for the club and $150 a year for athletic facilities — both are for a family — which comes to about $25 a month. Included in that are use of the athletic facilities, showers, locker room, sauna and other club facilities like billiards, dining room, ball room, lounge and exclusive downtown parking.

“That’s a pretty good deal,” said member Roger Sherrell, who is running an open-to-the-public fitness class twice a week. The class, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m., is $5 per session for nonmembers and free for members. The class has already been well attended, largely with athletes from the local soccer club, SO Samba FC, which is working in partnership with the Lodge.

It’s a win-win, Sherrell said. “We are helping them by providing a place to train over the winter and they are helping us by getting our name out there and giving a good, positive image for the club.”

An added benefit of being an Elks member is that the nonprofit organization is active in a great variety of local charitable activities. Anyone interested in touring the facilities can stop by during daytime hours or call the lodge at 541-386-1507 to arrange a tour.

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