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Members back to exercising at H-F Racquet & Fitness Club

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s Racquet & Fitness Club has been seeing a steady stream of people in the pool, in spin classes and taking advantage of the cardiovascular equipment and track.

Eileen Rohrer, club manager, told H-F Park District commissioners the average daily attendance is 130 people. The club, at 2920 183rd St. in Homewood, reopened June 29 after being closed for 15 weeks following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s shutdown of gyms as a precaution to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“In all honesty, members were just glad they were able to come back and work out,” Rohrer said during the Sept. 1 commissioners meeting. She said the highest number of participants at the center at one time has been 23, well under the state regulation of 60 persons present at one time.

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Currently, the club’s hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We have a good solid cleaning routine,” Rohrer said. Members “tell us how comforting it is to see us clean, and they are cleaning as well.” She said members will take a bottle of spray and rag to wipe down equipment before and after use because “it’s that we’re all in it together.”  

Rohrer stressed that anyone at the club must wear a mask, but added that staff has not had any serious issues enforcing the directive. When programs require reservations, participants can register through the hfparks.com website, by using the RFC app or by calling the center at 708-799-1323.

Free style swimming in the pool has been popular, she said. The pool has 4 lanes and the schedule allows for 45-minute swim within a 60-minute block. Reservations are necessary. An area at the back of the club has been converted to changing rooms.

Today the club has 21 classes, and Rohrer noted that yoga and spin classes are very popular. She hopes to expand to 25 classes in the fall as the club’s hours extend into the evening. She was excited to report the first Silver Sneakers remote class had 34 participants.

Tennis will be back starting Sept. 8, and tennis lessons start the week of Sept. 21. Pickleball resumes Sept. 15 with an afternoon session and Sept. 16 with an evening session. 

A sports fitness class for 13- to 18-year-olds will start Sept. 14.

The club is not selling long-term memberships. After the forced shutdown, the park district had to refund membership money. For those with yearly memberships, the time period was extended. Otherwise, Rohrer invites those interested in using the fitness center to take a monthly membership starting at $54 for adults; $27 for youth; $46 for seniors.

“People are coming in. They’re very pleased with the protocols we have in place, but the bottom line is they have to make that final decision to come back indoors,” Rohrer told commissioners. “We’re doing everything we can to keep our members safe and because of that, my plan is not to open the locker rooms and showers this fall. I don’t want to create these (COVID-19) hot zones for our members who go back to the routine of showering and sitting in the locker room.”

To accommodate members, staff will be placing cubbies throughout the facility so there is a place to leave coats, shoes and gym bags.  

“Choices,” the park district’s printed brochure, is only online now. It lists all classes and other information for the Racquet & Fitness Club and the park district’s other facilities and locations. It can be found on the parks’ website at hfparks.com.

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