Esporta Fitness gym closing in Morgan Park on April 1, to residents' dismay

Thursday, March 14, 2024
Popular South Side gym closing in 2 weeks, to residents' dismay
The Esporta Fitness gym at 115th and Marshfield in Morgan Park is closing on April 1. 21st Ward residents say it's a popular and essential gym.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The popular Esporta Fitness gym in Morgan Park is closing on April 1, and residents say they don't want to see it go.

Esporta Fitness, which is owned by LA Fitness, is yet another business in the 21st Ward to shut down. For residents, it became more than just a gym; it was an escape, an oasis.

Linda Martin said while there are a couple other gyms in the area, this fitness center at 115th and Marshfield provides services and classes to its members that are unmatched.

"We're seniors. We're on a limited budget. We need a gym we can afford. Our health plan pays for LA Fitness," Martin said.

The gym posted a sign on its window letting members know the club will be closing on Monday, April 1 at 2 p.m. The ward has also lost Chatham Theater, a Walmart and other businesses in the last year.

In a statement, 21st Ward Alderman Ronnie Mosley said, "The potential closure of L.A. Fitness Health Club/Esporta Fitness at 11520 S. Marshfield would have a devastating impact on our community mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

"Furthermore, this would mark the fourth national brand departure from the 21st Ward in less than a year. As Alderman of the 21st Ward, I've witnessed firsthand the distress closures have caused. We cannot afford to lose essential community assets without a fight.

"The overwhelming opposition shown by a petition of one-thousand signatures underscores the critical importance of keeping this facility open. I strongly urge L.A. Fitness to reconsider and prioritize the health and welfare of our residents."

Members of the gym said their community deserves better.

"It's like we're not valued, the Black and brown, because there are Hispanics here too. It's like we're not valued," Martin said. "This gym means the world to us. This is our community health."

Ald. Mosley said his office has received overwhelming opposition to the possible closure of the gym, including a petition with 1,000 signatures. Mosley is holding a "Health First" rally at Esporta Fitness on Monday, March 18 at 11 a.m.

ABC7 reached out to LA Fitness, which owns Esporta, but has not yet heard back.