Northeast Tarrant

Are membership fees for $34.7 million fitness center too pricy for Southlake residents?

The Champions Club at The Marq fitness club, which is scheduled to open in December, will feature a swimming pool with lanes for exercise and slides.
The Champions Club at The Marq fitness club, which is scheduled to open in December, will feature a swimming pool with lanes for exercise and slides. City of Southlake

The $34.7 million Champions Club at The Marq Southlake will open by the end of the year, providing a new place to exercise, swim and socialize in the upscale suburb.

One membership gives Southlake residents and non-residents access to an indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor turf areas, more than 50 fitness classes, child-watch and a gymnasium with an indoor track. The 82,000-square-foot facility will rival many of the 24-hour gyms in the area and provide competition for other municipal fitness centers, such as Keller Pointe and The REC of Grapevine, both about 5 miles away.

But complaints about the fees from Southlake residents have prompted the City Council reexamine the discount given to those who reside in the city. The council will discuss reducing the fee structure for residents at its Aug. 7 meeting.

“We value residents’ commitment to fitness and fun,” said Kate Meacham, deputy director of community services. “That’s why Champions Club membership offers a great fitness experience with inclusive membership. While many facilities in the area offer base memberships with a la carte features, our membership includes perks like guest passes, 50-plus group fitness classes per month, member appreciation events, priority registration and child watch.”

Members also get discounted rentals for all rooms in the facility. Southlake residents are calling for larger discounts on memberships because they have paid their share of sales tax to fund the construction.

Plans for a municipal activity and fitness center have been talked about for more than a decade in Southlake; the problem was how to pay for the construction and ongoing operations of a facility.

In 2014, Southlake opened the DPS North Training Facility and Fire Station on Dove Road, completing the buildout of police-related buildings in the city. That meant that much of the Crime Control and Prevention District’s half-cent sales tax could be reallocated to a new purpose.

In 2015, Southlake voters approved the creation of the Community Enhancement and Development Corp. to collect a ⅜-cent sales tax to fund construction and operations of the Champions Club at the Marq. The CCPD still collects a ⅛-cent sales tax.

“Once construction is complete, the sales tax will be coupled with user fees to support the operations of the facility to meet cost recovery goals that have been established by the City Council,” Meacham said.

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