Knowing Your Neighbors: Hermantown’s First Wellness Center

Essentia Wellness Center opens with YMCA, clinic, and more inside.

HERMANTOWN, Minn.- On Tuesday Hermantown will open their first ever Wellness Center with fitness, healthare, and a hangout spot all in one.

“It’s a great place for us to grow as a community, to build community together to help us to feel connected, and just be stronger together,” said John Mulder, Hermantown City Administrator.

There’s no shortage of things to do at the Essentia Wellness Center.

It features an aquatic center more similar to a small waterpark, what they call the Northland’s longest indoor walking and running track, and more to make the space a community center.

“We’ve always talked about how Hermantown doesn’t have a downtown and so this is a place where people can come together and just have a social event, meet their friends here, and do y’know healthy activities,” Mulder said, “even just have a cup of coffee at the bike shop.”

Four different organizations helped bring the Wellness Center together, with the City of Hermantown providing half the funding at $13 million, and the other half split between Essentia ($2 million), the YMCA Community Campaign ($3 million) and a State of Minnesota grant ($8 million)–bringing the total cost of the project to $26 million.

“We really believe that we truly are better together that what we’ve created as partners is actually greater than the sum of all of our parts,” said Sara Cole, President and CEO of the YMCA.

“So when we come together we’re really able to offer programs and services and reach communities in an entirely different way than any of us would be able to do alone.”

The Essentia Clinic will feature a new type of healthcare.

“We’re probably the only lifestyle clinic in Minnesota right now,” said Dr. Jason Buffington. “It’s kinda the future of medicine.”

“You can kind of think of myself as a medical doctor, an exercise trainer and a dietitian all rolled into one.”

They want to stop you from getting sick before you notice you might be.

“And what we’re really focused on is not so much the management of disease but the prevention and reversal of disease,” Buffington said.

And this community space is open to everyone.

“We celebrate all folks of all ages and sizes and abilities and races and religions and genders, everyone is truly welcome here and we’re so excited to, I’ve been saying, welcome folks to their new favorite place,” Cole said.

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