ST. PAUL – On Monday morning, a “For Rent” sign occupying the window of a long- shuttered Planet Fitness in St. Paul, Minnesota disappeared, sending the community into an uproar.
“We’re so worried,” said Doris Acker, 62, a local who frequently shops at the Marshall’s beside the closed gym. “Anything could be going in there. Anything. We’ve written letters to the city council, but they haven’t responded.”
“It’s a damn shame,” said James Hooper, 45, an accountant whose office looks out on the parking lot of the Planet Fitness. “It was getting to be so peaceful around here. They’re putting in one of those damn cross-fit gyms, I just know it.”
The Planet Fitness closed in April of 2017, following a slow membership cycle and declining client base. The space has been empty since, the purple-and-yellow gym equipment slowly gathering layers of dust. A “For Rent” sign went up shortly after the closure, but the space has not attracted many interested clients.
“It used to be such a busy little strip mall,” said Acker, clutching her recent purchases to her as a blast of cold January wind swept across the parking lot. “Now it’s going to be full of those gym rats flipping chains, or whatever it is they do.”
Acker and Hooper are referring to a growing trend across the United States known as Cross-fit, which emphasizes alternative workout equipment and a holistic approach to physical health.
“It attracts the most unsavory types,” said Hooper. “I can do without seeing ripped beast men in spaghetti string tops roll tires across the parking lot, thank you very much.”
A request for information to the complex’s owner revealed that, in fact, a Cross- fit gym is going in the space.
“Damn,” replied the community.
by Pembry Cornish