ARTHUR – A new outdoor gym and social space is expected to open sometime next month at the crossroads of Isabella, Charles and Georgina Streets in Arthur.
The project is a partnership between the Arthur BIA, Township of Wellington North and the province of Ontario, through an OMAFRA Rural Economic Development (RED) grant.
“The crew will be on site to start excavating this week,” said Mandy Jones, Wellington North’s community recreation coordinator.
“They’ll be putting down a 22-by-26 (foot) concrete pad, and then installing five pieces of gym equipment that people will be able to do seven different exercises on, as well as a concrete pad for a picnic table or bench area. It’ll be a great use of that green space.”
The space is meant for people of all ages, including seniors, and will include low-impact equipment such as an air walker, stepper, dip station, and leg press.
The equipment was purchased from Activefit, a company based in Point Edward, Ontario.
The total cost for the project, including the equipment, cement pad, new lighting and installation, is is $25,000, with 50 per cent covered by the RED grant.
Arthur BIA director Paula Coffey, who was instrumental in organizing the project, proposed the idea in 2019 – prior to the formation of the BIA in 2020 – after she travelled to Italy and saw a similar outdoor gym space being used by people of all ages.
“It was really inspiring to see,” Coffey said.
“This outdoor gym is going to be a great area for people of all ages to have quick access to a place to exercise and socialize.”
Coffey noted that although the outdoor gym is meant for all ages, officials are looking to hold special training sessions for seniors – pandemic restrictions permitting.
“This is all about everyone having access to the gym. We want to make the area as inclusive and accessible as possible,” said Coffey.
Arthur BIA chair Keith Harris agreed, noting, “We have to provide the means for people of all ages to get moving and enjoy the outdoors.”
He added a grand opening ceremony will be held in early June. It will be broadcast live on Facebook.
Mayor Andy Lennox said he is “delighted” about the project, which he called “a wonderful initiative driven by the BIA.”
Lennox added, “We are very excited to partner with the BIA on this project, and I look forward to its opening.”
Residents are reminded to follow all local public health guidelines when visiting the new park.