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Planning Underway for YMCA in Hermantown

Updated: 06/25/2014 10:33 PM
Created: 06/25/2014 8:35 PM WDIO.com

When it comes to the quality and length of a person's life, St. Louis County ranks 72 out of 87 Minnesota counties according to a county health study. A new development planned for Hermantown is working to change that.

"Finally," Hermantown resident Roberta Plewa said. "We're really looking forward to it."

That was Plewa's response to the new YMCA planned to be built in Hermantown. The Arrowhead Regional Health and Wellness Center will be owned by the city, but run by the YMCA.

The project received $250,000 of bonding money from the state. That will help with planning.

"We're really excited that they reached out to us to manage and run their facility," Duluth Area Family YMCA President Chris Francis said.

Francis said it's a need for the area because it is so much more than a gym.

"We have targeted diabetes programs we do with kids and adults," Francis said. "We actually work with area hospitals to provide that programming."

The Minnesota Department of Health reports about half of people living in Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties are obese or overweight. The growing problem costs Minnesota billions of dollars in health care.

"They project 40 percent of us in 20 years have the potential to have diabetes," St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber said. "We need exercise."

Plewa got a wake up call about her health five years ago from her doctor. She started working out and has seen results.

"I've lost 25 pounds," Plewa said. "I cut out blood pressure medication completely and I've dropped my blood sugar into normal parameters. You can't beat that."

A location will be figured out during the planning process over the next two years. Conversations haven't started yet, but Francis hopes to talk with the Hermantown School District about a possible site.

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