|L-R: Ed Aguiar, President of FCFWC and Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson|
The Forgotten Coast Fitness and Wellness Center (FCFWC) inside the main building at the Mayor Van W. Johnson, Sr., Recreation and Community Service Complex in Apalachicola marked its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
Up to 70 people from across the Franklin County community mingled in and out of the event that lasted throughout the day from 2:00 - 6:00pm, which included a demonstration of the equipment, door prizes, refreshments and remarks from Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson, Ed Aguiar, President of the FCFWC Board of Directors and Joe Taylor, Executive Director of Franklin’s Promise Coalition.
The sale of the property that formerly housed the Apalachicola Fitness Center at 45 Avenue D, initiated a dialogue earlier this year between the members of the fitness center and Franklin’s Promise Coalition concerning moving the center to the Mayor Johnson Complex, which is managed and overseen by Franklin’s Promise on behalf of the City of Apalachicola.
The move was agreed to by Taylor and Apalachicola City Administrator Betty Webb only after the organizers filed for non-profit status as the Forgotten Coast Fitness and Wellness Center, Inc., in March of this year.
The two rooms that formerly housed the BP Claims office inside the complex were assigned to the FCFWC, which is made up of volunteers from across the Franklin County community for use as a public fitness center.
According to Aguiar the organizers along with other volunteers completed most of the work required to renovate the space into a functioning fitness center, which consisted of joining the two rooms to create a large open space, painting and the installation of new baseboards. The group contracted with Sellers Tile Company out of Eastpoint to install the carpet. In all the work took only 20-days from April 1 to 21 to complete.
Afterwards, the organizers began moving and setting up exercise equipment inside the new location purchased from Harry Arnold, who owned the Apalachicola Fitness Center prior to the sale of the property.
“Your drive and commitment to rise above the closure of the center at the old location has resulted in the transformation of the fitness center into a public facility designed to meet the fitness and physical needs of the community at large. What you have accomplished through this endeavor has already greatly benefitted the community, while establishing a lasting relationship with the city”, said Mayor Johnson in his remarks. “Your collaboration with the city though Franklin’s Promise its agent… for use of space within this complex is a prime example of how the city serves best when it partners with the community”
Johnson congratulated the organizers for their efforts in finding the perfect solution to keeping the doors of the fitness center opened and welcomed them as a new and valuable partner of the city.
Watch video of Mayor Johnson's remarks here.