Center for Creative Wellness gets a facelift

The Center for Creative Wellness at 406 W. Main St. celebrated the completion of a total overhaul of the building’s façade.
The project, designed by Stacy Ness of KYE Studios, included brick work by Craig Schulta and carpentry by Tim Finnegan.
Special attention was given to retaining and renovating the original leaded glass windows that stretch across the front of the building. The glasswork is made up of hundreds of small panes, many of which were broken. Individual panes were removed and replaced.
The Center for Creative Wellness, owned by the Dora Gorski and her husband Kennan Purdy, has been located at 406 W. Main St. for the past seven years. Prior to opening Center for Creative Wellness, they had been offering martial arts classes at other locations.
“This is a place where we can control our environment,” Dora explained.
The Center for Creative Wellness has brought a number of physical fitness disciplines under one roof, including a variety of martial arts.
Purdy is a 4th degree black belt with 60 years of experience. His initial study of Aikido was in Japan under the founder of the art. He was the earliest American awarded a black belt in Aikido and continues to teach both fundamental Aikido and police tactics based on Aikido. Assistant instructor Mike LaRonge is a 2nd degree black belt with 20 years experience.
Dora, a brown belt, teaches the juvenile classes. She is a certified social worker with a degree in psychology. She is also trained in martial arts for special students.
Aikido adult classes are offered Tuesday and Friday from 7-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 11-12:30.
The Center for Creative Wellness also offers Shorei Kempo Karate under instructor Don Dunphy. Dunphy is a 3rd degree black belt with 15 years of experience. He has been teaching since 2002.Youth and adult classes are offered Tuesday and Friday from 6-7 p.m.
Dunphy enjoys teaching at Center for Creative Wellness partly due to the spacious Dojo.
“It’s very roomy, perfect for teaching karate,’ he said.
The defensive art of Jiu Jitsu is taught at Center for Creative Wellness by Jared Raths. Classes are held on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. Jiu Jitsu is particularly useful in law enforcement, and many of Raths’ students are law enforcement officers.
“This is an awesome place to be able to teach,” Raths said.
The building also houses Merrill Health and Fitness weight lifting and body building club. The members manage the club, with senior members mentoring new members. The club is temporarily occupying space on the main floor of the center, but will return to its home in the lower level of the building once planned renovations are complete in that area, Dora said.
The city’s Redevelopment Authority was involved with the project, offering a $25,000 economic assistance grant toward redevelopment.
Mayor Bill Bialecki said the project has sparked interest in rejuvenating other buildings on the West side.
“This is kind of a cornerstone of redevelopment and blight elimination in that part of town,” Bialecki said.

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