Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Burlington prepares to open new fitness court at City Park

A new court is about to convene in the city of Burlington – not a court of law, mind you, but an outdoor fitness court where the only just cause will be a full-body workout.

This new exercise venue at Burlington’s City Park is actually one of three that have recently sprung up across Alamance County thanks to a nonprofit initiative dubbed the National Fitness Campaign.

The National Fitness Campaign has also sponsored similar facilities in Mebane and at Elon University with the same basic goal as the new setup at City Park.

At each of these fitness courts, visitors will find an array of equipment, ranging from pull-up bars to specialized seats for sit-ups and crunches, that leverage the user’s own body weight to work different muscle groups.

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Instructions for using these stations are available through a mobile app that the city of Burlington likens to having “a coach in your pocket.” These same simple directions are also posted on the walls of the venue for those who prefer to leave their smart phones behind when they exercise.

The Burlington location is along Kitchin Street near the City Park walking track just down from the Burlington YMCA and across from Pine Hill Cemetery.

Tony Laws, Burlington’s director of recreation and parks, insists that each of these new fitness courts capitalizes on a growing desire among many Americans to spend more time outdoors.

“There’s been a lot of demand for outdoor exercise since the pandemic,” Laws explained in an interview Tuesday. “This gives you an opportunity to go outside to work out – and it’s free.”

Although there’s no charge to use the exercise stations or to download the associated app, these amenities aren’t entirely free for the communities which host the new fitness courts.

Laws said that these venues generally run between $125,000 to $150,000 to develop. He added, however, that Burlington was able to offset the project’s expense thanks to a $25,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign as well as another $50,000 from Impact Alamance. The city’s recreation director noted that the use of in-house labor further reduced Burlington’s share of the bill to about $45,000.

The city has scheduled a ribbon cutting next Tuesday in order to formally break in the new fitness court. But for all intents and purposes, the venue is already open – even if it has yet to attract many visitors in the stifling summer heat.

Laws conceded that he doesn’t expect the court to be much of a draw while the dog days of summer continue to drag on.

“When the weather cools,” he added, “it will be packed most of the time.”

 

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