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Fitness Center to stay quiet — no piped-in music

By Cathy Tallyn
Staff writer

After several months of surveys and debate, it’s official – there will be no piped-in music at the Tice Creek Fitness Center.

Despite the fact that there was no clear mandate from those who use the facility, the Fitness Center Advisory Committee decided to continue its ban on playing background music. Wanting to be sensitive to those with hearing and brain injury problems who are bothered by background music, it voted unanimously at its Jan. 8 meeting to keep intact an earlier music ban. Member Larry Kaufman was absent.

A survey was sent to 2,156 gym users late last year asking if they wanted background music. Of those, 1,113 responded.

“Believe it or not, the response was dead even,” said Jeff Matheson, resident services director. “The survey (was) not a whole lot of help,” he said.

The committee has the authority to ban music, he said. “You will not make a decision that makes everybody happy,” he told the committee.

“My recommendation is to … leave (the ban) as it is.”

An earlier, less scientific survey showed 55 percent of respondents didn’t want music, so the committee initially voted to ban amplified music. At its November meeting, the committee decided to revisit the issue and do a second survey.

While some residents and staff said they enjoy the music, two of the four residents who attended last Wednesday’s meeting urged the committee to keep the music ban.

Albione Becnel, who said she was a licensed speech and language pathologist, said background music can be impossible for some to shut out and can cause problems with concentration and perception.

“This is a senior facility. It’s not 24 Hour Fitness. There are some with hearing problems … and brain problems,” she said.

Becnel suggested that if people who work out want music, they listen on their own portable device. “Put buds in your ear and you don’t affect everybody,” she said. “It’s an ADA issue.…We don’t need to have it. I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about it.”

Resident Bill McConnell agreed. “I don’t want to reiterate what she said – it’s basically true.… If you want music, there’s a way to do that,” he said.