In bankruptcy for the second time in two years, Bally's facility and service have apparently both deteriorated, and, as happened with the Co-Op, customers are hemorrhaging to the South Loop. The difference is, in this case, it's not clear if there's a White Knight to keep the show going, as the U of C was able to at the 55th Street mall.
Those remaining and disgruntled members have managed to get Alderman Preckwinkle's involved, and a meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night. I'm not sure what Preckwinkle or anyone else can do if Bally's is really about to go under -- it seems like a stretch for the Alderman to reverse Bally's corporate fortunes, or improve the towel service, but there's no point in not trying.
What I can say is that if both the 47th Street clinic and the Bally's close, right across the street from the ever-vacant Co-Op branch, there will be an even larger, more desolate hole on one of Hyde Park-Kenwood's gateway thoroughfares.
Our reader informs us:
Feathers are beginning to ruffle at the Bally Total Fitness on E. 47th St. Unsatisfied members are joining forces to put pressure on Ald. Preckwinkle and Bally management to make drastic improvements to the club and/or bring a new health club to the community. Complaints include: deterioration of cleaning and maintenace service, elimination of towel service, poor management and customer service, unsanitary conditions, and rising memebership costs. Since the LA Fitness and XSport facilities have opened in the South Loop, there has been a mass exodus of Bally members to these cleaner/nicer/cheaper/no-contract-required clubs. Just like the grocery store issue, local residents are once again heading to Roosevelt Road or other communities to spend money and seek goods/services. In December, 2008 Bally's filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. They've been "circling the drain" for a while now; the chances for improvement are slim to none.
Ald. Preckwinkle will be meeting with community members and Bally's management on February 27. Residents and Bally members are encouraged to send an email to Preckwinkle (tpreckwinkle@cityofchicago.
org) with their specific concerns and requests around this issue. For more information, contact Ellen Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.