Local gym owners upset tax dollars fund The Hub

With more than 2,000 members, business is booming at The Hub and they haven’t even opened yet.

“We’re going to open in a two-part phase,” said Hilary LeHew. “The track, the gym, and the fitness center will be open to the public in mid-January. The pools are a little bit behind so they’ll open in early February.”

Despite a number of other fitness options spokeswoman Hilary LeHew says Williamson County is ranked as one of the unhealthiest areas in Illinois.

The multi-million dollar facility will feature basketball courts, a fitness center, and swimming pools.

The $14,000,000 bill will partially be paid by the room occupancy tax, as well as through city bonds.

“This is going to be a destination, we’ll hold tournaments, we’ll fill hotels, and we’ll fill restaurants,” said LeHew. “This is going to be a place that increases your property value. There are so many benefits to this, and that’s why the city wants to have it.”

While construction crews roll up their sleeves and finish the heavy lifting at The Hub, local small business owners are concerned that their tax dollars are paying for the competition.

“It’s always hard to compete with your local government and your local business owners for the same market share,” said Golds Gym owner Shane Smith. “Our budgets will never be what taxpayer dollars can afford so we look at it as cowboy up time. We are going to try to expand and enhance our product to try to compete.”

“CrossFit Marion will face many challenges ahead with the opening of The Hub,” said CrossFit Marion owner Jeff Hickam. “We will continue to serve our customers and the community the best that we can and we look forward to many more years to come.”

For more information on The Hub click here.

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