Olympia City Hall

City officials discuss having outdoor fitness equipment in parks

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OLYMPIA –– Members of the city’s parks and recreation advisory committee discussed the possibility of having outdoor adult fitness equipment in parks amid COVID-19 restrictions to promote usage of parks. 

Jonathon Turlove, the city’s director of park planning and maintenance, reached out to the National Recreation and Parks Association to understand the pros and cons of installing outdoor fitness equipment and received mixed reviews, he said. 

Other city officials commented on what kind of equipment would be installed and how best to take care of those pieces. 

“If we are going to do it, the installations should be low tech and not high maintenance,” Said Veronica Gemmell, the city’s parks, arts and recreation manager.  “Having low pull-ups and push-up gear can be beneficial and will require less maintenance.”

According to city documents, several vendors sell outdoor recreation equipment that can be used for outdoor exercise. This equipment can be installed outdoors and are approved for adult use, with some pieces approved for strength training, while some pieces are built for aerobic exercise. Currently, none of the city’s parks have exercise equipment like this, although other places around the state have started installing exercise equipment in city parks elsewhere. 

Potentially, expanded fitness offerings could be part of this effort to increase fitness opportunities while gyms and other facilities remain closed in the area. While the city has offered virtual fitness classes online, such as yoga, there could be more offerings like it in the future –– not just virtually, but also in parks, as well. 

City officials suggested reaching out to the community about whether having outdoor equipment would be something of interest considering the current restrictions in place that limit use of gyms and sports facilities many in the area use to exercise and stay fit. Spense Cearns, a fellow committee member, advised constructing a covering above the equipment. 

The advisory committee is thinking of installing temporary basic outdoor fitness equipment samples to understand the usage at first and will look into multiple ways to collect feedback.

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