HUNTERSVILLE – One of Huntersville’s main attractions is getting a facelift, and town leaders think it’ll bring more people to what is already a popular place.

Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics, a 12-year-old fitness center off Verhoeff Drive, has more than 8,000 members. It needs more space to adequately hold what many believe will be an influx of visitors as the town’s population grows. 

HFFA Executive Director Dee Jetton spoke about the expansion and renovation project to the town board prior to its Nov. 18 meeting. Jetton discussed the possibility of using 2012 bond money appropriated for a mezzanine to instead build much-needed space inside the gym.

“The primary issue today is that we needed that space a month ago, six months ago,” Jetton said. “If we don’t resolve these issues, our retention is going to suffer. We need some help now. This is a good solution for where we are.”

HFFA’s fitness center renovations are expected to be finished by Jan. 1. Jetton said the changes to the renovations would be done without incurring an extra cost.

Commissioner Jeff Neely said HFFA is a valuable asset to the community and has a major appeal for out-of-town people.

“It’s been a big draw for the town, for people who want to move here and for quality of life. It’s one of the reasons I moved here,” he said. “I thought any community that had that kind of facility was prepared for the future. It’s time to update some things inside of it. Based on its popularity, you’ll face some issues about providing it to residents (without upgrades in the near future).”

Town Manager Greg Ferguson spoke in favor of the change.

“You live within what your options are,” he said.

More than 60 percent of voters supported all three bonds, to benefit roads, public safety, and parks and recreation.

The bonds include nearly $18 million for roads, $7.2 million for public safety and $5 million for parks and recreation.

“I think it relates to dramatic growth of the town in the last 10 years, the quality of life that’s been enjoyed and the desire of Huntersville’s citizens to continue that quality of life,” Neely said.

“One of the things you do is you look not only at roads and public safety, but also at parks and recreation. You have to ask, ‘Are we adequately taking care of all the citizens, and where do we need to focus our efforts?’”