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The burning question is: Ravena Taxpayers, Ravena Residents, are already paying at least $115,000 for the Ravena Health and Fitness Center for the budget year 2013-14, so Why??? do Ravena Residents have to shell out at least $240.00 each a year to use the Ravena Health and Fitness Center???? Shouldn’t it be the same as the Community Library? Taxpayer money supports the RCS Community Library but residents and even non-residents can use the library FREE! There’s no additional charge to use the Community Library! So why do Ravena residents have to get hit twice by the Bruno-Warner-Deluca crooks?
And can Ravena residents and taxpayers affort to back-up the lawsuits and settlements that are likely to come out of the Ravena Health and Fitness Center because of its risks and hazards? And we’re not even considering the lawsuits and settlements that will result from the poor management and illegal policies and procedures under so-called director Cathy Deluca, who with the collaboration of mayor John T. Bruno and Nancy Warner, set herself up in a plum job for a cool $30,000 of taxpayer money! They play, YOU PAY, Ravena!
On Our Ravena Tour, Our Third, and Quite Possibly Our Most Disappointing Stop Was…
The Ravena Health and Fitness Center
Given the history and the circumstances surrounding the questionable creation and scandalous lack of planning and corrupt funding of the Ravena Health and Fitness Center, and given the way the village of Ravena simply went through the motions but then hired one of their own to be “director” of the center for a cool $30 grand a year, we found it very difficult to dump emotions and stay objective when stepping into the place.
But that notwithstanding, here’s our report on our experience plus the added entertainment report of a local resident’s experience at the Ravena Health and Fitness Center.
First of all, we were pleasantly surprised to find the place really looking like a fitness center. At first glance it’s a bit cramped and, if you get 10 or 15 people in the place it could make the impression of being crowded and claustrophobic, but if you were to go there with the genuine intention of getting a good workout, you’d probably not notice.
We also had the feeling that two things can happen if the place gets off to a start: It will become a haven for young men who want to strut their testosterone-soaked egos (and this would discourage the older crowd) or it will become a watering hole for bored housewives and local buffalos (which would likely discourage the younger folk). Either way, the place will not likely support both groups because it’s simply too cramped.
I found that the open area where the classes would be held to be too open and would distract from the necessary concentration for strength and weight training
The center has a program of “classes” but I found that the open area where the classes would be held to be too open and would distract from the necessary concentration for strength and weight training enthusiasts or persons doing cardio or aerobic exercise on the machines, and who generally like to while away the time reading or enjoying music. In other words, it may turn out to be very distracting whatever you’re likely to be involved in.
I was greeted by a very pleasant young man who tended to ramble on with a scriptlike pitch until I had to tell him I have been working out for many years and know my way around a gym and have my routines, so “Can it!” (but not in so many words).
In general, the staff was pleasant and, although a bit puppy-like, eager to assist.
Locker rooms—there’s only one and there’s absolutely no privacy. No showers.
I was a bit disappointed when I asked about the locker rooms—there’s only one and there’s absolutely no privacy. No showers, either. I was told that changing booths were going to be installed but there would be no showers. So much for privacy and hygiene.
The Ravena Health and Fitness center, for what it offers, is extremely expensive
The greeter/salesperson handed me a copy of the “membership contract” which was a surprise, too. The Ravena Health and Fitness center, for what it offers, is extremely expensive: 1 year membership for village residents is $240.00/year or $150/6 months ($300/year). For non-village residents (I’m not quite certain what a “non-village resident” is supposed to be) a whopping $300/year or $180/6 months ($360/year). The per visit fee is $10.
We compared the cost of membership and membership options with two local clubs, Bally’s and Planet—RHFC was dead in the water!
What I don’t get is that the Ravena health and fitness center is subsidized by our tax dollars and is supposed to be a community club so why the devil is it so damned expensive???? Maybe Mayor John T. Bruno or fitness center director Cathy Deluca (hired at $30K a year + benes) can answer that for us.
Dictatorial and Heavy-handed Membership Registration & Conditions
In addition to the extremely expensive membership fees, another problem I see is the fact that for that money you have only one club to choose from: Ravena.
So we compared the cost of membership and membership options with two local clubs, Planet Fitness and Ballys, both with locations nationwide, and both fitness systems offering incredible opportunities for whatever your tastes may be. In general, the average cost for full membership, the opportunity to use any club anywhere they have a club, the availability of the most modern equipment, trainers, exercise programs, in some locations swimming pools, sauna, steam, separate changing rooms for men and women, showers, and frequently they’re open 24 hours to accommodate almost any member’s schedule is—I hope you’re sitting down—an average of between $150-175/year, and depending on the membership plan you choose, could be as low as $75/year. There are innumerable options so we’re just providing the average.
The burning question is: Ravena Taxpayers, Ravena Residents, are already paying at least $115,000 for the Ravena Health and Fitness Center for the budget year 2013-14, so Why??? do Ravena Residents have to shell out at least $240.00 each a year to use the Ravena Health and Fitness Center???? Taxpayer money supports the RCS Community Library but residents and even non-residents can use the library FREE! There’s no additional charge to use the Community Library! So why do Ravena residents have to get hit twice by the Bruno-Warner-Deluca crooks?
Bally’s has one club in the Albany area (Crossgates Mall) but Planet Fitness has about 5 locations in our immediate area, the closest one being in Glenmont.
So, as far as facilities and cost go, the Ravena Health and Fitness Center falls far short of being worth the money for what it offers.
The terms of membership are a bit dictatorial and heavy-handed, something I have not experienced at other clubs (I’m a long-time member of Bally’s and a member at Planet Fitness). At Ravena Health and Fitness, for example, in terms of liability for personal injury or property loss, you have to sign your life away (hopefully not literally). The Ravena Health and Fitness Center assumes no responsibility for any liability. So read the Membership Registration Form very carefully before signing, if you actually are considering joining the joint. The impression I got, though didn’t ask for confirmation, was that they are not insured. (I’d be very happy if someone were to correct me if I’m wrong on this.)
Ravena Health and Fitness can change “facilities, equipment, hours, service, regulations and policies” at any time and by singing the Membership Agreement you agree to accept this as a condition of membership. No way, José! For $240-$300/year? Forgettaboutit!
There are other very bizarre and restrictive terms and conditions of membership that I found to be overly controlling and unnecessary for a tiny, community-based club.
Our advice: Read the Membership Registration agreement very carefully before putting your money down and signing! Think very carefully about whether it’s worth the money and the possible aggravation.
We’ll close this report with the impressions of a local resident who very recently visited the Ravena Health and Fitness center and shared his/her impressions with us but asked to remain unidentified for obvious reasons. Here’s what he/she had to say:
“I stopped in at the Ravena health club to check it out and see what was going on.
“I walked in and one of the employees approached me and introduced himself. I told him why I was there and he agreed to give me a tour. What was really bizarre was that there was a heavy-set, older blond woman sitting on a desk in the office area who gave me a wierd feeling of being watched or examined but the tour got my mind off her gaze for a while.
“I liked the equipment because there were several machines I like to use, free weights, too. There was warm-up equipment and a space for stretching. The problem was that it was kind of cramped and not very inviting…it didn’t have that ‘gym feel’, if you know what I mean. At least before it felt like a library, it still does.
“There’s only one co-ed locker room! No showers!
“I would have considered it a possibility for when I’m too lazy to make the trip to Albany to the club where I normally work out but the Ravena club is really crazy expensive. It would cost me more than $200 for much less than what I get for $75 a year at my Albany club. No brainer!
“But the real clincher came when I met a woman who was exercising who recognized me and asked me, “Are you [redacted]?” When I answered, “Yes!” I heard the chubby blond behind the counter let out what I can only describe as a squeal and then heard a lot of whispering. I continued my chat with the woman who was from my RCS graduating class, and who wanted to get my address for an upcoming class reunion.
“When I was ready to leave, the chubby, older blond [woman] called me over, asked my name and started to verbally assault me. I asked who she was and she identified herself as “Cathy Deluca.” I responded, “My pleasure! I was looking forward to meeting you, Mrs Deluca!” Her response was, “It’s not a pleasure!” She continued her assault and finally told me, “You’re not welcome. Please leave.”
“I guess that solves the question of joining the Ravena club.
“You were right. It’s run by that group and when an employee of a publicly owned, community facility can make a decision whether a resident is “welcome” or not it’s pretty bad. I’m paying her salary and she has no right to tell me I’m unwelcome for no reason at all, or just because she doesn’t like my politics.
“Business as usual in Ravena!”
We couldn’t have said it better and we won’t attempt to do so. But we did recommend that the resident file a Notice of Claim against the village of Ravena for Cathy Deluca’s misconduct. Who knows, the resident may end up owning a fitness center!