An open house was held Jan. 9 at the new Wellness and Fitness Center on North Haven. An outreach program of the Penobscot Bay YMCA, the idea grew from the YMCA’s Activate America initiative, which highlights the need for people to exercise more. The facility is located at the former community center and has been equipped with nearly a dozen cardio machines, free weights, and a Cybex machine with three workout stations.

More than 100 of the island’s 350 year-round population attended the event, which included a short presentation on the benefits of exercise by Helen Betancourt, who is a summer resident, an Olympic-level rower, and coach for the Princeton rowing team.  Other activities included demonstrations and overviews of the equipment.

Troy Curtis, executive director of the Penobscot Bay YMCA, said he was gratified by the turnout for the new venture.

“We are extremely pleased and encouraged by the support that we have received from individuals committed to opening this facility,” Curtis said in a news release. “We could not have done this without the dedicated support of a very hard working group of North Haven residents who felt the need to address exercise and health issues on their island.”

The center will also play a role in North Haven’s future as a sustainable community.

“We islanders have been working across a broad front to maintain and increase our population,” said North Haven Town Administrator Joe Stone. “The center complements this ongoing effort that in recent years has brought us a new community school, a new community center and the new clinic. Like access to education and recreation, access to a modern fitness facility will help us attract and hold young families on our island.”

After having its doors open for just one week, the facility is busy and membership has grown to over 80. It has already become a social hub in the community and people are meeting to work out together. The facility is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information call the Penobscot Bay YMCA at 236-3375.