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Members Speak Out
At Center Forum
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
PHOTO BY GLENN TRIEST
Revamping the Maple - Drake health club is a priority.
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he lobby is a vast area of
empty space. With the ex-
ception of the yearly Jew-
ish Book Fair and periodic
art displays, the expansive en-
tryway seems to serve little pur-
A designer's vision would turn.
that space into an area he de-
scribes as an indoor street prom-
enade, with a full-service cafe and
gift shop selling sporting goods
and impulse items. Arches would
accentuate entrances to areas
like the executive offices, health
club and tennis courts.
These are some of Cary Green-
berg's ideas for a revamped
Maple-Drake Jewish Communi-
ty Center. Plans to give the build-
ing a facelift are in the
preliminary stages. Center Ex-
ecutive Director Morton Plotnick
said the money will come from
a fund-raiser, not from its bud-
get. No dates for the renovations
or detailed plans for raising mon-
ey have been determined.
On Monday, Mr. Greenberg, a
design director of Quality Con-
struction/Im-econ, spoke to about
100 JCC Health Club members
who turned out to discuss design
and renovation plans for the
health club and possibilities for
the rest of the building. Much of
the hour-and-a-half meeting was
devoted to gripes or brainstorm-
ing. Every one of Maple-Drake's
1,664 health-club members re-
ceived an invitation to the forum..
The JCC is trying to make up
membership losses in the past
few years that added to the
agency's $450,000 projected-1995
deficit. The Center cut programs
and laid off staff to avoid a short-
At the meeting, recurring is-
sues raised by Center members
focused on maintaining mem-
bership costs, cleaning up facili-
ties, attracting younger members
and providing easier access to the
health club through a separate
entrance. Center officials said
they already are addressing some
of these issues.
One woman asked if the tow-
els could be softer. Someone else
wanted to know why the JCC
closes earlier in the summer.
The discussion of the Center's
Sabbath hours was a heated is-
sue. Many of the members ex-
pressed dissatisfaction over not
being able to use the facilities af-
ter 5 p.m. on Friday or before 1
p.m. on Saturday. JCC President
Douglas Bloom said right now
the Center stands firm on its de-
cision to maintain current Shab-
"Let's lose the
Mr. Bloom talked about plans
to send questionnaires to former
members to inquire about their
dissatisfaction with the JCC and
mentioned looking into the pos-
sibility of a senior health-club
membership. As current mem-
bers raised concerns and offered
suggestions, Mr. Bloom took
notes and said, "We will look into
it." He also asked if those present
would be willing to pay for valet
parking service. Those who
voiced an opinion generally were
not in favor of the idea.
Making the JCC attractive
means changing its appearance
and cleaning up locker-room fa-
cilities, said Mr. Greenberg.
"Let's lose the institutional
look," he said, and suggested a
juice bar and installing a bank of
televisions to go along with an au-