By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The November 30 closing of Atmore Area YMCA won’t mean that all the programs formerly offered by the local nonprofit will come to an end.
An official of Health Actions Physical Therapy — which already operates facilities in Jackson, Dothan, Troy and Daphne — said during a Monday, December 3, public announcement that in January the company would formally add Atmore to its list of facility locations.
The new business will open in a long-closed brick office suite next door to the abandoned Huddle House building on Brookwood Road. Maxwell Construction and City of Atmore crews worked inside and outside the building as Monday’s announcement continued.
Atmore City Councilwoman Susan Smith, who knew of the company’s long-standing desire to open a facility here, alerted company officials that the YMCA’s closure had opened the door to implementation of its expansion plan, if the company could provide continuity of some of the organization’s fitness and wellness programs.
“Everybody’s real concerned with the Y closing; we all are,” Smith said prior to introducing Health Actions Executive Director Debbie Powell. “But Health Actions is going to pick up a lot of the programs they had at the Y, and we’re going to be hearing a lot of good things from them.”
Powell confirmed the councilwoman’s contentions, adding that the closing of the YMCA removed one of the key hurdles the company had faced in its plan to set up shop in Atmore.
“We had planned years ago to open this building, with physical therapy and wellness-fitness,” she told a gathering of 15 that included local officials, company employees, two preachers and others. “But we had multiple things … it just was not right because we would be in competition with the Y, and we had the real estate crash.
“Everything started to improve, but the timing still wasn’t right. Susan let us know that the Y was closing, that if there ever was a time for us to come do this, it was now. It all kind of came together after that.”
Powell added that the familiar programs — including Silver Sneakers, Child Watch, group fitness and others — would be accompanied by some familiar faces.
“Roland Hall, our Wellness Director, was the program director at the Y,” she said, introducing the newly certified physical therapist. “Also joining our team are two of the instructors from the Y — Theresa (Scott, who directed Silver Sneakers sessions) and Maria (Love-Davis, the local Y’s fitness director and group fitness instructor for more than 11 years), who were valuable instructors in those programs.
“We will have Angie (Messer), who was over Child Watch at the Y, plus more things that we were told would be helpful and make this a better facility for this community.”
A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for January 2, with a formal Open House tentatively scheduled for mid-January.