Normal Parks and Rec leans into local funding for ‘fitness court’

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:03 PM CST
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NORMAL (Heart of Illinois ABC) - By the end of this year, residents could have a new way to stay fit at Rosa Parks Commons in Normal. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

The National Fitness Campaign aims to get public fitness facilities to a thousand communities by 2023. As part of their efforts, they’re giving the Town of Normal $25,000 to build an outdoor “fitness court” focused on bringing more options to stay active locally. The park is designed around self-lead activities, all tied to a mobile phone app.

Parks and Recreation director Doug Damery sees the facility as a chance for more residents to get exercise easily.

“The exciting thing about this is it’s a unique fitness court a lot of individuals can take advantage of,” Damery says, adding it’s providing the opportunity for something “new and exciting.”

With the Town Council approving the grant last week, they will now need to look for sponsors to cover the rest of the $180,000 price tag. But not everyone thinks the project is worthwhile.

Normal councilwoman Kathleen Lorenz was one of two members to vote against the resolution for the grant. She says while she does support local investments, it wasn’t enough of a reason to justify the cost.

“I think I would boil it down to, this didn’t seem as practical of a choice on how to spend 100 and some thousand dollars that I would like it to be,” says Lorenz.

Once funding is found, the purchase of the fitness court will come back to the council for approval.

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