Powell moving forward with wellness center study


Last month, Powell City Council began discussing the prospects of a community recreation center, and during its Jan. 5 meeting, the first step in the process was approved. With a unanimous vote by council, the city has entered into an agreement with Integrated Wellness Partners (IWP) to conduct a wellness feasibility study in the community.

IWP has upwards of 20 wellness facilities around the country, including partnering with the City of New Albany to create the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany.

“There’s nothing like this time we’re in right now to really implore and really bolster everyone’s ability for health and wellness, so I’m very excited about the opportunity to have the study done,” Councilman Brian Lorenz said during last month’s first reading of the ordinance.

The first phase will include a needs assessment, market study, core program identification, base facility building program, operations and staffing plan, operating pro forma, and project narrative for medical fitness. The process of completing the study will take anywhere from 90 to 120 days.

“Really, the purpose of the feasibility study is to provide the council with enough information, options, and recommendations as to how to proceed,” IWP Executive Vice President and Managing Director Jim Ellis said. “One of the most important pieces of information is what the feasibility study reveals in terms of the opportunity in the marketplace, and how does that drive the programming — both the health and wellness programming and the building program?”

Ellis said the key to profitability for the wellness centers is to “right-size them,” which underscores the importance of the feasibility study.

To find the right size, Ellis said IWP looks at several different factors, including the demographics of the marketplace and what the “uptake” of the demographics would be based on their experiences with similar demographics. Ellis added that the business demographics of the marketplace also goes a long way in correctly sizing the facility.

Ellis went on to say there will be a “long series of conversations and interactions with various stakeholders” within the community, which will add considerable insight into what the needs are in the community. “Is there a need for an aquatics facility, for instance, as part of this project?” Ellis asked. “Those types of questions that we answer through a lot of interactions with the stakeholders also go a long way, ultimately, in us recommending what we think is a right-sized facility.”

Mayor Frank Bertone mentioned SourcePoint as one of several community stakeholders that have reached out to the city about being involved with the project.

As part of the study proposal, Integrated Wellness Partners has agreed to underwrite 50% of its standard $60,000 for the study. With the reduced fee, the study will cost the city $30,000 to conduct. Funding for the study will come from dollars available through last year’s CARES Act.


By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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