Long-awaited exercise stations in Pelham Bay Park were recently dedicated amid much fanfare.
Exercise equipment that includes 13 outdoor pieces, located near the Rice Stadium running track in the park, was dedicated after several years of planning and the completion of construction on Tuesday, October 3.
The fitness equipment includes six-pieces that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act for people with special needs.
Dedicated the same day was fitness equipment for children and a children’s nature walk.
The project was funded with $881,000 in capital funds from Councilman James Vacca, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Mayor de Blasio.
In addition to elected officials, attending the ribbon cutting ceremony were Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks commissioner; Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, NYC Parks Bronx commissioner; the Friends of Pelham Bay Park, an advocacy group for the city’s largest park, and community members joined them on opening day in celebrating the new park amenities.
Vacca contributed the largest portion of the funding, allocating $516,000 for the project.
The allocation was made in 2014, according to an earlier Bronx Times article.
Vacca said that bringing fitness equipment to his district has been an important priority for him throughout his tenure in office.
“I’m pleased to have been able to fund the two centers in Bronx Park East and Pelham Bay Park, and the one soon to be built at Colucci Park,” said Vacca. “These fitness centers are crucial to keeping Bronx citizens healthy and encouraging residents to work out and get in shape.”
The councilman said that many people don’t have access to gyms, making it harder for them to stay in shape and that the exercise stations encourage parkgoers to exercise.
The borough president, who allocated $200,000 for the project, said that exercise equipment in parks “is critical to the #Not62 campaign and our mission to create a healthier Bronx.”
#Not62 is a social media campaign begun by the Diaz’s office to raise awareness about the borough’s ranking last in the health of citizens in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation annual study of the health of New York’s 62 counties.
“I am proud to have provided $200,000 in capital funding from my own budget to support its installation,” said Diaz. “I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Silver and the Parks Department, and Councilmember Vacca for their partnership on this wonderful new amenity for Pelham Bay Park.”
The Friends of Pelham Bay Park also purchased similar equipment, said its past president Judge Liz Gonzalez in a statement.
Each December, she stated, the group meets to discuss what the park and the borough needs to set a goal for its annual March fundraiser.
In 2013, the Friends purchased outdoor exercise equipment that is currently in Orchard Beach after having been elsewhere in the park, stated Gonzalez, adding that the new track equipment took its place.
“It takes time to get from the drawing board to opening day but it’s worth the wait,” said Gonzalez. “We are the Bronx, we are beautiful and thanks to this equipment, we are going to look very, very good!”