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The recreation center: pride in ownership

Association-managed communities offer many benefits to residents, and it is our charge, as employees of PLPOA, to make sure that your community-owned amenities are well run, welcoming, governed by smart and reasonable rules which make sense and protect your property value.

As manager of the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, my staff and I are blessed in that the product we offer you, the property owner, is designed to enhance quality of life. That product is fitness and health. It’s a tremendous product that we all believe in and are continuing to invest in.

I like to say, “If a pill could be invented that has as many benefits as exercise, it would be the most prescribed pill in the world.”

Because of this “pill” we offer, the recreation center is somewhat “recession resilient.” But we are not “recession-oblivious.” Operating the recreation center in a fiscally responsible manner is second nature to us.

What’s the mood like at the recreation center these days? Are members upbeat or pessimistic about the future? Are they spending as freely as they did a few years ago?

The answers are obvious.

No.

Members are very selective about how they spend and which classes they choose.

Are they thinking twice about renewing their membership?

Yes.

Some are reviewing their options and, instead of the family membership, may choose a single or couple membership to save a few bucks. But because our membership prices are so very reasonable, we continue to have a lot of members.

Failure to retain our members is not an option. We do all it takes to succeed as a focal point for nurturing health, creating a sense of community and maintaining a place to fellowship with like-minded homeowners.

There is a direct correlation between what goes on in the recreation center each day and overall member retention. People leave their place of workout because it never became “their gym” and they never developed that personal ownership that made them want to overlook or overcome minor obstacles to keep going.

Members stay because of relationships. So, we have created opportunities to touch even the most introverted member. Ask any of our water aerobics participants and they will tell you all about the fun shared with their fellow exercisers, inside and outside of the recreation center. Ask any of our racquetball players and you’ll find out they go after blood on the court but then over a post-game beer all is forgotten and forgiven.

Members will also quit if their place of exercise bores them into oblivion. They leave because the thought of standing on the same old treadmill watching the same old television leaves them cold — or taking a class from the same instructor who is late again and who enters running through the door one minute before class begins with her coffee in hand — just forces them to walk away.

To avoid the above, the recreation center offers a wide variety of classes: a total of 27 each week that include step aerobics, body-sculpting, Pilates, Qi-gong, spinning, yoga, Zumba, water aerobics and other similar variations on a theme. The instructors are as varied as the class offerings, and they are all highly trained and professional.

Last year, there were a total of 108,000 people signing in to utilize the facility. Thirty-nine percent of the users were timeshare owners, and the rest homeowners, renters and their sponsored guests. The recreation center annual income in 2010 was $474,000 with total annual expenses of $320,000. What the recreation center doesn’t spend is put into a capital improvement fund for the future.

The building, although almost a quarter of a century old, still looks smart and well kept up. A remodel project in 2003 added 1,000 square feet of much-needed space to the facility and the architect, the late Maggie Dix-Caruso, gave the building a more contemporary appearance with a striking front entryway and new standing seam metal roof.

Memberships for 2012 will go on sale starting Dec. 15 and use of the facility begins immediately. Membership prices remain the same as they have been for the past four years. This is the right thing to do given the current economic climate.

Much of the recreation center operation is successful due to the loyalty of our members. We, the staff, will continue to work with you, the property owner, in maintaining a facility that will inspire pride in ownership. We will also continue to ask, “What can we do for the member rather than to the member.”

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