The Jewish Community Center. (Courtesy of JCC Facebook)

Center’s goal is to keep both open through the winter, and staff will keep an eye on COVID spikes.

After the closing of its health club at the end of September, the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit in West Bloomfield has announced its indoor pool and track will open at the beginning of November.  

In a letter from the JCC Executive Team to the community on Friday, it was explained that a committee was created of past JCC fitness participants, chaired by Carol Eisenshtadt, with an objective to explore new ways to offer fitness and wellness programming at the JCC. The committee eventually determined that their number one priority is to open the indoor pool and track as soon as possible. The specific reopening date at the start of November has not been decided on yet.

The indoor pool and track will open with limited hours as JCC evaluates the needs, and the JCC community should look for news in the next week or so with additional information on pricing, hours, how to register, and safety rules and regulations. 

Heidi Budaj, assistant executive director of the JCC, says this decision had to do with allowing JCC community’s swimmers and walkers to have a safe environment that’s inside and away from the elements throughout the winter.

“It’s so important for us to continue to offer wellness and fitness programming during this stressful time,” Budaj said. “We know this virus and the isolation it’s causing is having an effect on the mental health of many people in our community, and we know this kind of physical activity is an important part of helping people through it.”

JCC has moved on from its annual membership model to a “pay as you participate” model. JCC will be using the MindBody application for customers to book those visits. JCC is still in the process of putting their information into the system. 

For the price structure under the new model, there will be one price if you’re signing up to visit one time. There will also be packages available, possibly including a 10-class pack, and/or an “unlimited package” for a month.

“This is phase one of a reimagined JCC wellness program,” the letter on Friday said. “The committee will continue to meet and evaluate the needs of our community to provide a safe environment and fulfil our mission to offer dynamic programming for the mind, body and soul.”

JCC CEO Brian Siegel told the JN in September the JCC decided to close its health club due to a number of reasons, including real estate issues with a 340,000 sq. ft. building with business operations that no longer support it, as well as seeing a membership decline of 50% in the past decade, with a drop in Jewish membership being a crucial part of that decline.

The JCC currently plans to keep both the indoor pool and track open until Memorial Day, when they hope to re-open their outdoor pool. But the center will be reevaluating this plan as the winter goes on, keeping an eye on any possible COVID spikes.

The JCC ultimately hopes to put a fabric structure over the outdoor pool during the winter months so it can be year-round, eventually permanently closing the indoor pool in the process. 

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