Whether for someone who works day shifts at a nearby hospital, or just for night owls in the neighborhood, the idea of the “Anytime Fitness Center” proposed for Quincy is to enable the public to exercise at any time.
That’s at least the hope for the a 24-hour fitness franchise proposed for a 5,000-square- foot space at the Hannaford Plaza on Hancock Street in Quincy, which will most likely face the Licensing Board for approval of the nonstop operating hours sometime in coming weeks.
The first of its kind in the city, the center would give members electronic keys to access the building.
Video cameras would provide security while staff is away at night, and special call buttons will be placed throughout the facility if someone needs medical assistance.
The business has taken root in such communities as Kingston, Plymouth, and Carver, but in Quincy, city representatives have some concerns, mainly with the 24-hour model.
“I think it’s just public safety concerns,” said Councilor Brian McNamee, whose ward is on the boundary with the center. “For example, ATMs are open 24 hours a day. They become good targets for thieves. They just camp out and wait for someone to come in early in the morning, and as soon as someone emerges, they have an unsuspecting victim.”
Kirsten Hughes, Ward 5 city councilor, agreed that any kind of 24-hour establishment is worrisome.
“I think it’s problematic. But the right thing in the right place isn’t bad; I just wanted to hear more,” she said.
With several condo associations in the area, and with those residential streets leading to the fitness center, the fitness center conceivable could bring crime to more the neighborhoods.
“They would be impacted,” Hughes said of nearby residents. “I don’t know how positive they would view it, but maybe for ease of use they would like it.”
Hughes said she and McNamee plan to send a letter to residents notifying them of the potential business. If there is enough concern after the initial letter goes out, Hughes said a public meeting would soon follow.
The applicant could not be reached for comment.
Although the proposal will have to go through Licensing Board approval for the operating hours, Attorney Ed Fleming, who is representing Kimco Realty out of New York – the owner of the strip mall where the center would be located - said the use falls under existing zoning bylaws and won’t need Zoning Board approval.
“There is a provision in the zoning ordinance that provides for retail uses between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. … but in this case, indoor commercial recreational facilities are an allowed use,” Fleming said.
Before the Licensing Board meeting is scheduled, the applicant is putting together a letter that will be sent to neighbors within a 300-foot radius of the site, Fleming said.
The matter will be put on an upcoming agenda at that time.
Neighbors who wish to speak for or against the proposal can submit comments to the Licensing Board or call the local ward councilor, Hughes said.