Alarmed by the clear-cutting of trees done in preparation for the Life Time Fitness Center at West Lake Houston Parkway and Will Clayton Parkway, the Atascocita Residents Care Committee has been in contact with the company to see what their future plans are for landscaping. Vicky Eynon, ARCC president, said that she has been in communication with Lifetime, particularly with Senior General Manager Dennis O’Connell, who said that “landscaping is not a matter we take lightly at Life Time Fitness.” Eynon said that the plans for planting look acceptable, but ARCC wants to know what kind of trees will be planted, what other landscaping will be done, and if the spaces allowed for planting will allow the trees to mature. “I appreciate and respect the degree to which the residents of Atascocita take pride in the community and its environmental surroundings,” replied O’Connell to Eynon via e-mail. He added that their plan for Atascocita is not “generic,” and will use local plantings, exceed requirements, and “meet with the high standards” they have set for their facilities. O’Connell said that each landscape island will contain two, 12- to 16-foot trees, along with flowering shrubs and fountain grass, with more along the perimeter. Senior Director of Corporate Communications Jason Thunstrom said that he understood concerns, as Lifetime typically looks for sites of 10 to 12 acres to build a center. He said that their centers have recently been redesigned to incorporate sustainability practices including less energy use, less potable water use, less waste water and collection of recyclable materials. The Atascocita facility, said Thunstrom, will incorporate the new “more green” design. “We want the aesthetics of the building inside and out ... and are investing quite heavily in that,” said Thunstrom. There are currently 72 Lifetime Fitness Centers nationwide. The Atascocita facility is expected to open late this year. ARCC will continue to follow the development and Eynon says she hopes to sit down with planners sometime soon.

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