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Mailbag: Save the Sports Performance Institute

September 06, 2012

I am writing to you today about a Laguna institution. It's not the museum nor the art school nor the festivals or the Penguin Café. It is another institution that is in the 11th hour of its existence here in what I call, "East Laguna," or better known as Laguna Canyon.

The institution I speak of is the Sports Performance Institute, or as I refer to it, the gym in the canyon.

This building has been a gym since the early 80s in one form or another and for the past 15 years has been in the steady hands of Mike Catanzaro, Eric Parizek and Silvio Delligatta.

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They took a gym that was wavering and turned it into a viable and productive gym that has afforded more than 300 local Laguna Beach residents a great place to stay fit and at a reasonable cost. The gym has been a real asset to the community on every level and now is weeks away from disappearing — yet another East Laguna institution to bite the dust.

Now we all know that landlords are free to do what they want with their properties and one institution's loss is another's gain and in this case, a much needed gain for Laguna College of Art & Design.

There is no question that we live in an art community that prizes and embraces our great art institutions. However, we are also a community that prides itself on a healthy lifestyle of which the gym has been a valuable asset. It's loss not only affects its 300 local members, your constituents, but also the greater community as a whole by depriving local residents a great and affordable place to practice a healthy lifestyle.

I make this appeal to you not only as a person who has been going to the gym for almost 30 years but as a long-time resident, an artist who understands the importance of our art institutions and also the importance of institutions that have been and remain important and valuable parts of the very fabric of Laguna Beach. I ask you all to please help Mike, Eric and Sil by perhaps giving some incentives via waving parking issues or perhaps landlord incentives to keep this great institution part of our community.

We love art but we love health as well. If the gym in the canyon disappears, we all lose. There is no other gym like this in Laguna. Please help to keep this one from going the way of so many of our community-serving, locally-owned businesses.

Jorg Dubin

Laguna Beach

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