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WAC In Columbia Opens As Muletown Rec

Posted at 7:19 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 20:30:25-04

An investor's vision has breathed new life into the Maury County community staple, the Wellness and Aquatic Center.

Joe Kuchinski considered becoming a member of the new Muletown Rec Tuesday. However, it's not the first time he has walked the halls or swam in the heated therapy pool.

"It was very, very good for me. In fact I knew it did some good but didn't know how good until everything stopped," Kuchinski laughed. 

Kuchinski has lived in Columbia since the mid 80s and became a member at the facility when it was the Columbia YMCA years ago.

However, in 2013 the Y closed and the Wellness and Aquatic Center or WAC was born. Kuchinski was a member then too.

"The classes we had in the evening they were from 6 to 7," he recalled. 

Yet, in Spring of last year the WAC announced it was in debt, nearly $30,000 a month and in need of half a million dollars worth of renovations. Keeping it opened seemed hopeless and members like Kuchinski were left with little or no options. 

"I thought maybe the city would take it over, and they didn't," he said. 

Enter David Baxter, a business owner and investor. "We saw it as an opportunity that we could invest back in the community and make this place happen again," Baxter said. 

It took $1.6 million, the building got the renovations it needed plus a name fit for Columbia; Muletown Rec. "We kind of stuck with that theme as far as with the Muletown and just said, well it's Muletown Rec. This city is known for their mules," Baxter said. 

Potential members hoped history wouldn't repeat itself. "The question is now will they be able to maintain this," Kuchinski asked.

Muletown Rec is open 24/7, but the construction hadn't been completed. The owners planned to open a 3,000 square foot splash pad by this summer.