Gym To Move, Add Swimming Pool

Racquetball courts to close for now

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While his clients upgrade their bodies and relocate their lumps, Payson Athletic Club owner Keven Rush is preparing to upgrade and relocate his business.

Rush's was the very first business, local or otherwise, to lease space in the Rim Country Mall, a 75,000-square-foot shopping center that's coming soon to the old Wal-Mart building on Highway 260.

The move will more than double Payson Athletic Club's current size, amenities and services including a swimming pool and tanning equipment giving area residents no excuse whatsoever for remaining flabby, pasty and inert.

Prodded for an opening date, even a tentative opening date, Rush hemmed and hawed a bit before proffering this response:

"Being as inexperienced in this as I am, I'm not a very good guesser. I thought we'd be in by January. But I'm hoping for sometime in April, which may or may not be realistic."

At the moment, the whole project is in the hands of the Town of Payson, Rush said.

"We have (turned) all of our requests for permits (over to) the town, and we're just waiting for their permission to start our tenant improvements. As soon as we get that, we'll be ready to go."

Another reason for the delay, Rush said, is that, "We're trying to put in an above-ground pool, which presents some challenges regarding plumbing and the integrity of the cement floor. Engineers have had to look at the building and take core samples of the dirt, so all of that has caused delays that have been longer than anticipated. But we want to make sure everything has been done right."

While all details of all facets of the new athletic center remain tentative, Rush said, the swimming pool is expected to be 41 by 21 square feet.

"We're doing the whole pool thing with Scott Nosseck of Payson Physical Therapy," he said. "We're dividing the cost of everything so we can both use the pool; Scott needs it for his therapy and I need it for my fitness center. We've actually been trying to do this for about three years. Without Scott's help, we wouldn't have been able to do it by ourselves."

Rush also is expecting to add a juice bar, "depending on the cost of the required plumbing," a 380-square-foot supervised child care room, a pro shop with clothes and sports items, and two new tanning machines one a bed, the other an upright booth which will be installed in Payson Athletic Center's current location within the next two weeks.

"We'll also be adding some classes, as well as aerobics and kids' programs, now that we have enough size to accommodate them," Rush said.

There is, however, one current amenity that will not be making the move ... for now, at any rate.

"We will be moving the racquetball court to the new facility, but most likely, not off the bat," Rush said. "There are plans to add one at a future date, but they run between $35,000 and $40,000 to purchase and have them installed so right now, it's an issue of cost.

"What we're going to do is get the walls up and get the pool in, and then whatever funds are left over can be applied to the racquetball court and any future extras we'll be able to afford."

Payson Athletic Center is something of a local institution as far as business longevity. It first opened in 1982 as the Payson Fitness Center; was sold and redubbed the Summit Health and Racquet Club in 1986; was resold in 1994 to a group of investors who kept both the name and business for about one year; and was then taken over by Rim Gym, a competing operation located directly across the street.

When Rush purchased the Rim Gym three years ago, he immediately changed the name to the Payson Athletic Club ... although hardly anyone noticed.

"(The previous owner) had done a lot of prepaid advertising, like in the phone books and signage," Rush said. "We kept all of that so people could find us."

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