Citing consistent complaints from club members regarding ongoing sanitary issues at , Village of Morton Grove officials said they closed the facility yesterday afternoon.
Morton Grove Pro Tem Village Administrator Ryan Horne said the village has received complaints via phone call and email from members since LA Fitness, 6821 Dempster St., acquired Bally Total Fitness in early December 2011.
"Consistently over the past few months we’ve had issues where members would call up and say; 'they’ve out of toilet paper, they’re out of soap, they’re out of shampoo,'" Horne said. "And use your imagination, I’m sure you can imagine what happens when you don’t have toilet paper."
Mold and mildew had also become a noticeable problem at the facility since the village health department began inspections on Dec. 19, 2011, once LA Fitness took over. Horne added that the closure came as no surprise to employees and management at LA Fitness.
"This was not a surprise to the members, this was not a surprise to the management there and this certainly was not a surprise to their corporate office," he said. "We’ve had numerous conversations with everyone up and down the management staff there."
As of this writing, LA Fitness could not be reached for comment. It's also unclear whether members will be reimbursed during the facility's closure.
One member of LA Fitness, who wished to remain anonymous, said she witnessed some of the sanitary problems first-hand when visiting the club yesterday before it was closed at 3 p.m. Toilet paper was missing from the bathrooms and the facility lacked overall cleanliness. She was told by an employee that a cleaning company was coming in at 11 a.m.
As far as when or if LA Fitness will reopen, Horne said the immediate sanitary issues have to be corrected before that can happen.
"If we go over there today and they have corrected all of the issues with mold, mildew, the bathroom facilities themselves... If they have corrected all the sanitary issues they can reopen right now," he said.
Additionally there are some ongoing issues related to the business license and permits, which have not been corrected, he added.
"There’s still some time on that that they have to correct things," Horne said.
The , after failing to comply with a state law mirroring the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Act. The act was designed to prevent drowning deaths after a 7-year-old girl became trapped underwater by the strong suction of a hot tub drain and drowned in 2002.
That law requires pool operators, such as park districts, to install types of pool drain covers which prevent dangerous suction power that can cause swimmers to become stuck and drown.
Village officials said Bally Total Fitness had "quite a bit of time" to fix the drain problem and had applied for a permit, which was issued shortly before LA Fitness took over.
"LA Fitness then applied for a permit, so there’s some confusion about that," said Morton Grove Environmental Health Inspector Bonnie Burnett. "But according to LA Fitness they will be repairing that drain and making the pool usable again."
Horne emphasised that the village has no authority over the facility's swimming pool in terms of it being operable.
"I just want to make it very clear to everyone that the reason the pool is not operating is because of state licensing and management at LA Fitness," he said.
Village officials said they've always "intermittently received complaints" regarding sanitary issues since LA Fitness acquired Bally Total Fitness. However, Horne added closing the facility wasn't something they wanted to do.
"All in all, while it was something we absolutely did not want to do - we didn’t, our goal in Morton Grove is to be business friendly. Our goal is to work with people to get them into compliance," Horne said. "Unfortunately, we really had no choice and when it came time for us to act they’re the ones who understood why we had to do it."