Excercise equipment planned for park

Councilman Jimmy Vacca, here at a recent CB 11 meeting, is on board with the group’s push to put “Allerton’ on the map. Photo by Ben Kochman

A plan to get adults working out on free outdoor equipment is coming to Bronx Park East.

Councilmember Jimmy Vacca has allocated money to install adult exercise equipment in the park that will be ready for use in the Summer of 2016, giving residents a different way to use parks to get in shape.

“I believe our parks have to be a place for physical activity,” said Vacca. “And exercise equipment in a park represents a fantastic opportunity to people to get active and get in shape.”

The plan is still in the preliminary phases, but the equipment would be placed in Bronx Park East near Lydig Avenue, said Vacca.

The exercise stations would include equipment for things like sit ups and chin ups, said Vacca, and it is weather resistant, vandal proof and handicap accessible.

He said the project, for which the funds have been secured, is projected to cost about $300,000.

The plan is the second of its kind coming from Vacca. He also funded exercise equipment in Pelham Bay Park, and that project is a year ahead of the Bronx Park East plan.

Vacca said the exercise equipment projects are just one aspect of trying to improve health in the borough, which he feels requires attention to nutrition, physical education and parks, among other things.

“I’m committed to physical fitness,” he said. “Here in the Bronx we face many obstacles to good health, and wherever I can encourage it, I do.”

Since the plan is still in the preliminary stages, there will be opportunities for input from the community about the specifics of the placement and design. But Vacca is confident that residents will welcome the plan to offer more opportunities for exercise.

“This is something people will want to see,” said Vacca.

The Community Board 11 Parks Committee agreed, and voted to send a letter of support for the project to the Parks Department at a meeting on July 9. The deadline for the letter did not allow time for the issue to be brought before the whole board.

The plan was initially presented to some members of the board by a Parks Department representative at a chairpersons meeting in June, where a few members had concerns about the safety and maintenance of the equipment, said Parks Committee Chair Joanne Rubino.

Those members’ initial resistance may have also stemmed from the fact that the Parks’ representative was unable to answer specific questions, said Board 11 chairman Tony Vitaliano.

But both Rubino and Vitaliano said they felt the plan for equipment was a positive one, because it encourages people to get outside and active.

The exercise equipment is a great alternative for people who can’t afford or don’t want to join a gym, said Vitaliano, and the equipment is senior-friendly.

“This is definitely something that gets people moving,” said Rubino.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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