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Phoenix rises

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From left, water aerobics class participants Donna Vollhoefer, Gloria Stickley, Rick Redmon, instructor Jennifer O’Ferrell and Richard Seelbach have a class in the pool at Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics. — Rich Cooley/Daily

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Jon Markley, of Maurertown, walks between two lanes in the bowling alley at Signal Knob Lanes. Markley will manage the bowling alley and also perform maintenance for it and Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics as part of the new management team. — Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg recreation, community center hopes for big splash

By Josette Keelor -- jkeelor@nvdialy.com

Rising out of the ashes of an ill-used past, Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics and Signal Knob Lanes, both under new management, are ready for a new birth.

"This building was built about 12 years ago," said Bill Romoser, a member of the management team that will focus on various aspects of the new business, from fitness to fundraising. "We're making a big effort to build it up to its potential."

Previously what the team recently called an "underused" location, the building at 35 Brandy Court, next to the Ramada Inn in Strasburg, primarily was an event center that housed the 10 lane bowling alley and the Valley Swim Team.

The facility was less than it could have been, but its presence was deeply felt. Without it, said Valley swim coach Trey Shafer, "we're without water. It's a meeting space."

Jeff Taylor, a team member in charge of advertising, said the goal now is to better serve the community.

"It's just not a recreation center, it's a community center," he said. "We're here to help. ... We're here for them."

Almost a month after the team took over management on June 1, they have big plans for the future.

Upcoming classes will include arts and crafts, water aerobics, swim lessons for all ages and fitness classes like Pilates, Zumba, hip-hop, line dancing and youth ballet, but what the facility offers will depend on the instructors they can attract, the team said.

On the inside, the building is bigger than expected.

An aerobics room on the second floor overlooks the pool below through three wide windows that face a wall of mirrors. A weight room across the hall overlooks the gymnasium and offers free weights and exercise machines, with a personal trainer on staff. The weight room likely will be upgraded in the near future, the team said.

Rates are based on membership, they said, and cost $5 a day for unlimited access to the weight room, pool and gym. Members also get deep discounts on classes, and other promotions include a rate for military (current and retired), police and firefighters, who all are eligible for a two year membership for the price of one year.

Members can sign up for a month, a year or a two year membership for one or two people or as a family.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to start team sports like volleyball, dodgeball and indoor tennis.

The facility's 25-yard, six lane pool uses salt water, Romoser said, and he tries to maintain the temperature at 88 degrees.

"It's a unique system. You have to use less chlorine," he said. "The chlorine comes from the salt."

The building also offers three rooms for parties or other events.

The room closest to the bowling alley can accommodate up to 75 people, Shafer said.

Another room offers cosmic carpeting that glows under black lights, and a portable stage, which the team hopes will attract live music, dances, auctions and various fundraisers.

"Movie nights, for children and adults," Taylor suggested. "Anyone wants to use the facility for that reason, just contact me."

New leagues are forming at Signal Knob Lanes, said Jon Markley, who manages the facility and provides maintenance for the entire building.

"He's a lifesaver," Taylor said.

The lanes can accommodate bowlers of any skill level, Markley said, explaining that he changed the oil pattern on the lanes to make bowling easier for the average bowler, but users can request more oil on the lane for a tougher game.

The bowling alley has shoe rental, a snack bar, bowling balls of varying weights, a pool table and a jukebox.

Bumpers pull out from the gutters, and management has plans for adding in handicap-accessible equipment.

Markley expects the bowling alley to play host to various events, from bowling parties to bowl-a-thons. Cosmic bowling also takes place under black lights.

"We have space to expand 10 more lanes out in that direction," he said, indicating the right wall of the alley.

"I'm trying to stay open Friday and Saturday," he said, adding that he extends hours to accommodate bowlers.

The front desk at Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics is open from 1 to 7 p.m. daily, but members have access from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Signal Knob Lanes is open from early afternoon to late at night and extend hours by request. For information about rates, classes or fundraisers, call 465-9430 or 465-5400 or email phoenixfitnessandaquatics@gmail.com.

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