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New “Strong-Man” Gym Approved in Mineola

Board Outlines Key Points to Be Abided By Training Facility

Strength training with tires and chains may seem like the definition of unconventional to most who go to a regular gym, but not to Frank Savino, owner of Gridiron, Inc., a training facility seeking to move into Mineola.

The board of trustees approved the special permit for Gridiron. It was approved subject to 10 conditions. Village Attorney John Spellman dictated the conditions to be followed at last week’s meeting.

First, the hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; the gym would be closed on Sundays.

No food, beverages or supplements would be sold on the property. Furthermore, the staff would use off-street parking and encourage patrons to utilize on-street parking and refrain parking adjacent to the gym.

The operation of the gym would be “self-contained” inside the building. No outside workouts could occur.

Proper emergency egress would be provided on the north side of the building. The current east side egress would be closed.

The maximum number of staff that could be on-site at any time would be limited to 36 persons. Each of these conditions is material to the approval granted by the board. Violations of these points will subject the applicant and any of successors to possible revocation of the special use permit.

Representations made by the applicant on the record have been deemed material to the application being approved. Violations set forth in the decision will be deemed a violation of village zoning law.

Savino came before the Mineola Village Board recently asking for a special use permit to open an exercise, training and fitness facility at 94 Union Street.

Savino had previously operated two facilities under his Gridiron banner, one in Flushing, Queens on Northern Boulevard and the second on the campus of Hofstra University, which recently closed due to the disbandment of the football team and the movement of the New York Jets training facility to Floram Park, NJ.

“I’m different than a conventional gym,” Savino said at a previous meeting. “I’m not a muscle-head place.”

Gridiron is “unconventional” in that they prescribe “functional” training similar to Strongman competitions – using chains and tires – instead of free weights, treadmills and other training apparatus at consumer gyms.

The gym emphasizes itself as a one-on-one training facility with strict 30 minute workout sessions for athletes across a variety of fitness levels, for people of all ages, specializing in physical rehabilitation.

“It’s not an open gym,” Savino said, describing his business as a “strength and conditioning facility.”

Savino’s clientele includes high school athletes from Chaminade, Kellenberg, Holy Cross, St. Anthony’s, several college athletes and two professionals.

According to Sal Niegle, the architect retained by Savino, the 3,966 sq. ft. facility, can accommodate a maximum of 79 occupants, but there are expected to be no more than 25 customers plus five trainers “at any one time.”

Between five and six clients would be at the facility during the day, and up to 15 during peak after school hours. Savino said that the facility does have group training with a ratio of five athletes to one trainer with 15 to 20 people working out on Saturdays.

The potential number of customers descending upon Union Street was a concern to the members of the village board, as there exist four parking spaces in front of the building, which is also adjacent to the Wilson Park parking field.

Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira raised the issue of potential congestion at the previous meeting due to the proximity of the building to the Mineola Athletic Association relative to the parking lot as well as the adjacent field at the Hampton Street School and the teams that play there.

“I do not have waves of cars coming to me,” Savino said in response. “I get four, five cars; six cars at once would be ‘wow’ and a lot of the times the athletes do carpool.”

The board raised concerns over the lack of a secondary egress point from the building, potentially leaving evacuees in the rear of the building next to the village-owned fence, which led to the board insisting on a new egress on the north side of the facility.

Trustee Lawrence Werther said at that meeting it was “not acceptable” to have an opening in the village-owned fence next to the parking lot. Savino said that a secondary exit door could be installed instead of a window in one of the locations where windows were planned.

The gym would also modify the existing lavatory to include two toilets and two showers, one of which would be handicapped accessible.