Dunbar Center fitness, future in question

The Center's owner position is being auctioned off this month

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Members of the Dunbar Community Center in Springfield were overwhelmed with conflicting emotions of sadness and satisfaction Saturday. After 3 months of sweating through long workouts, participants ended their summer-long fitness challenge, with one final weigh-in.

Wanda Givens of the Mason Square Health Task Force told 22News, “Physical fitness and good nutrition are two ways of reducing those numbers. Diabetes is a disease that we do not have to suffer from if we eat right and exercise.”

The community center offered participants a variety of exercises from biking and walking to more creative activities, like rowing.

But those proud, smiling faces, told the story of a bittersweet ending. Friends who were once strangers exchanged final goodbyes; this could be their last time together at the Dunbar Community Center.

Diane Hodges-Hunter said, “I hope that everyone can pull together and do whatever they can to make this place stay open and to make this important part of the community not disappear.”

The Center’s owner is being auctioned off this month. That means the center’s programs, including the Health Task Force, might not serve the community the same way.

Marguerite Foster-Franklin told 22News, “There’s no avenue for the students to go and there’s no avenue for the senior citizens to go. And what about the task force? What about being healthy? Everyone talks about being healthy; we can’t do that if there’s nowhere to go in walking distance.”

The center’s next owner can either change it or keep it the same. Members told 22News they’re hopeful it will stay the same.

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