Macon Health Club backers ask feds' help to keep it open

Macon Health Club members have asked a federal agency to help them fight Navicent Health's decision to shut it down.

The group filed a complaint Monday protesting the closing with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

They're asking the agency's civil-rights office to work with them to help stop the closing.

The group argues that the Macon Health Club's membership is mostly black and the closing will hit the black community hardest.

They hope to take the property back from Navicent Health and possibly re-open a YMCA at the site.

Navicent took control of the building in 1991, and last year announced that they planned to close the Macon Health Club due to declining membership.

But Macon lawyer David Oedel and others argue that the decision is based partly on race. He says Navicent is building a large health club just a few blocks away and also runs a mostly white wellness center in north Macon.

The century-old club is located at 389 First St. Navicent Health closed the it on April 30.

Backers of the club argue that Navicent reneged on a promise to turn the club back to its original owners if they decide not to keep it open.

The building started as a YMCA more than a century ago, but left the national organization in the 1960s when it integrated.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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