Active Living Center Promotes Wellness, Community

May 28, 2015 09:23 PM

The Active Living Center is the place to be in Grand Rapids. The 5,000 square foot addition to the Itasca Family YMCA opened in March, and is increasingly popular.


"ElderCircle worked with the city of Grand Rapids and the YMCA to make this a reality. We wanted it to be a true community space in the county, for all ages and all abilities," Kristi Kane explained. She's the Executive Director of ElderCircle, a non profit that focuses on keeping aging community members active and in their own homes longer.

The center boasts attractive and large meeting space, gathering spaces, a small library area with board games, and even a billiards room.

It's free and open to everyone.

The center is part of a $6 million dollar capital campaign started by the YMCA several years ago.

Longtime Y members Devin and Janet Dahline shared why they think this is so special. 

"You can come here and find companionship. It's a social thing," said Janet. She plays cribbage here twice a week.

Her husband Devin often comes here after working out. "During your workout you don't have time to visit. But afterwards you can come here and have a cup of coffee, and renew your friendships. I'm seeing new faces all the time too."

There's also something unique about this spot. Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital has a four-exam room clinic inside. 

Dr. Jeremy Carlson is one of the three doctors who practices here. "We are excited. A big reason we wanted to come here is we wanted to collaborate with organizations that promote health. And it's exciting to work and open a new space."

There's been interest from other YMCA's and clinics about this partnership.

Dr. Carlson said it's helpful that they're in the Y, because he and his co-workers often encourage their patients to work out.

And the Y has plenty of room for that.

Betsy McBride, executive director of the YMCA, gave us a tour and showed us some of the upgrades. 

"We re-worked two raquetball courts to create a free weight room area. That opened up more space and more machines in our fitness center. And we have a cycling studio and a mind/body studio," she said.

There's also a new drop-in daycare center for folks who want to work out, use the Active Living Center, or have appointments at the clinic.

To celebrate and showcase the partnerships involved in this effort, there's an entire week's worth of grand re-opening events. To find out more:


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