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Posted March 1, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics shows its artistic side

By Sally Voth

If a venture pays off, Strasburg soon will have a true community center, complete with an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, art gallery and multi-function rooms.

In July, new management took over the Phoenix Fitness & Aquatics and Signal Knob Lanes, located at 25 Brandy Court.

Now, art gallery Phoenix Fine Arts has been added to the mix.

"We're making it into a community center," said Jackie DeWitt, one of the new managers.

In addition to an in-house swim team, the saltwater pool is used by swim teams from Shenandoah County high schools, Clarke County High School and Massanutten Military Academy.

The gymnasium is also getting more use, DeWitt said.

"It's going to be equivalent to the aquatics program," she said. "The aquatics program is top-notch."

The center offers various classes, such as dance, Zumba and yoga, in a large room next to the workout center. There are a few function rooms in the main part of the building between the fitness side and the bowling alley. A flower and garden show was held there last weekend, and a bridal show is planned for later this month.

"We've got open houses pending, and artists can use this room for free," DeWitt said. "Artists are always welcome to come in any time, promote, do whatever."

Rather than charging them rent, she charges them a 20 percent commission on whatever they sell.

Diane Artz Furlong of Strasburg was hanging some of her paintings on Friday.

"It's great," she said of the center. "It's always hard for an artist to find venues for her work."

Framed photographs by Steve Sober are also among the art on the walls. He is helping to manage the facility, too.

"I think it has real potential as a community kind of place..." Sober said. "It's easy for them to divide the pool and the fitness area from the front entrance [where the art is]. It's a heck of a resource, and I just really hope it can become viable."

The pool side is also good for the community, according to Trey Shafer, head coach of Valley Swim Team Phoenix. There are 75 kids ages 5 up through college age on the competitive team.

Shafer said private lessons also are offered at the pool.

"It's a facility that the community can benefit from tremendously," he said.

For more information, call 540 465-9430 between 2-8 p.m.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com

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