Clanton, Thorsby parks acquire fitness equipmentBy Emily Beckett Published 7:48pm Friday, June 21, 2013
Representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health made stops at Clanton City Park and Thorsby’s Richard Wood Park on Thursday to see new exercise equipment purchased this year with federal grant money.
Both municipalities applied for and received grants through the Strategic Alliance for Health, a program of ADPH, for new state-of-the-art equipment at the two parks.
Clanton’s $20,000 grant was used to buy two tree climbers, a volcano climber and two pieces of outdoor fitness equipment.
The tree climbers and volcano climber were added to the Gateway to Adventure playground for children, while the outdoor fitness equipment structures installed for adults to use at the park.
Richard Wood Park in Thorsby also acquired two outdoor fitness structures.
Thorsby’s $4,000 grant helped the town buy the two fitness structures (a rowing machine and cardio walker), as well as swing set accessories (including regular and handicap accessible seats) for Sam Bentley Park.
Although the rowing machine and cardio walker at Richard Wood Park are intended for adults, they are safe for children to use.
Thorsby Mayor Jean Nelson said she has seen multiple residents using the equipment since they were installed in May.
“We needed something different over here,” Nelson said of the council’s decision to buy non-play equipment. “I felt like the people would utilize them for their exercise because not everyone has the money to go to a gym. I see a lot of people use them.”
Ann Fuller, assistant communities coordinator, agreed with Nelson and noted that the cardio walkers at both parks are particularly beneficial for those with arthritis or joint problems since it creates minimal impact on the joints.
Fuller said those who use the equipment could see improvements related to weight, heart health and blood-related issues.
“We target obesity, diabetes and heart disease with interventions that will reduce the impact of these diseases,” Fuller said. “We feel like if we get more people more physically active, the rates of these diseases will decrease.”
Fuller and Nelson said another benefit of the equipment at the park is that it is free for the public to use anytime and doesn’t require an expensive gym membership.
The equipment acquisition process began in 2012 as Thorsby and Clanton councils started planning their park enhancements with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Health and applying for SAH grants.
Nelson said parks improvement was one of late Thorsby Mayor Dearl Hilyer’s priorities during his final term in office, and she plans to continue improving the parks in the coming years.
“I do want to add more to it,” Nelson said of Richard Wood Park. “Maybe next year.”