A non-profit organization hopes to break ground next summer in Livingston County on a place for people to go and get fit.
The Livwell Community Wellness and Fitness Center would be built on land behind the Quicklee’s Travel Plaza off Lakeville Road in Avon..
“The type of facility that we are looking to build is an attraction. It is going to be something that people are excited to be a part of and go to it. It is not just going to be something where you show up, work out and leave. You are going to want to stay, engage, meet other people and enjoy the programs,” said Don Mills, executive director of the project.
Mills, along with Josh and Jen Bruckel shared the vision for the project at the Sept. 14 Livingston County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Livwell Recreation Center is not a Livingston County project – though the county has been discussing a community center or YMCA-type facility for several years. Livwell is a non-profit under the Bruckel Development Group and Mills is an executive director at P.S. Bruckel Inc.
Preliminary plans for the facility is for it to have a multi-use track and field area, pool, fitness area, cafe and an indoor and outdoor space for people to use.
The land where the facility could be built is being donated the Bruckel family. The exact amount of space being donated has not been determined but brother-and-sister team Josh and Jen Bruckel said it is between 10 and 12 acres.
“We would really like to provide a place for not only our youth but also our seniors and everyone in between so that we have a wonderful place to go and it will serve so many different groups,” said Jen Bruckel.
The cost for the project is estimated between $25 million and $40 million.
Mills said the facility would be similar to a YMCA-type of facility where families would pay a monthly membership fee that will feature different levels based on the family size and that is a place that Mills wants to make access to all.
“We are also going to have a scholarship type of program planned where people who might not be able to financially access some of the programs or services will be able to apply and it will one of my missions as executive director to make sure that we get them as much access as possible,” said Mills.
Also planned to is have two indoor ice hockey rinks with seating. Mills said he is hoping this attraction will bring people from other counties to the area.
His plan to pay for all of this would include grants, potential Senate or Assembly allocations, private and corporate gifts, fundraising events, construction loans and potential support from Livingston County.
No county money has been allocated for the project at this time, but Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle offered some positive comments about the project.
“Personally it is exciting to see that there is a non-county venture out there that has taken the ball and ran with it,” said Coyle.
Another part of the project would be to have a child watch area, where parents can drop off their children while they enjoy the facility. Mills said there will be two levels of activities for people to enjoy.
“There will be a second floor fitness space with outdoor access and it will have indoor and outdoor access. A walking and jogging track. We are going to try and get creative with it,” said Mills.
The look of the project is also important for Mills. He said as a community center he wants it to not only be welcoming to residents but also fit in with the look of the surrounding towns.
“What is really important for us and the team is that we want for it to be true to Livingston County and have an authentic feel,” he said. “I have already engaged with the Livingston Historical Society about putting some elements in the facility that speak to the history of the area. There is a real farmhouse-style look to the facility that we think represents the area well. It is also more eye catching than your traditional building.”
Details on the design of the project are still being worked out as well. In the next few weeks the Livwell board will be meeting with architects and hear their pitches for the project.
This is not the first time a health and wellness center has been proposed in Livingston County. In 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of the understanding with the GLOW-area YMCA that was to lead to a multi-generational community center in the county.
There is a YMCA now in Dansville, through the Hornell YMCA, and a FitClub 24/7 gym in Geneseo. Some school districts also offer swimming, walking and other activities for people to take part in, but they may not always be available or fit residents’ schedules. Access or use of school district facilities also are often limited to district residents.
The construction of a community wellness and fitness center would not only help improve the health of residents, it could improve the county’s economy, said Livingston County Economic Development Director Bill Bacon.
“It gets people active and hopefully it cuts down on any health issues in the future, but with more activity it will give them a better quality of life,” Bacon said. “I think that is the bottom line and with this thing here we can have that amenity that we have not had before.”
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