Enjoy walking the pathway at Homesteader Park? You can now add strength training to your routine, with the addition of several outdoor fitness stations that are available to the public free of charge.
The stations, located at the southeast end of the park just across from the softball fields, were added in response to the growing popularity of the pathway, as well as public input gathered by the City of Powell.
“With the pathway at Homesteader Park, we get quite a bit of activity with folks that are walking or running or biking,” said City Parks and Recreation Superintendent Del Barton. “Over the last year or so, we asked several people if they’d like to see some outdoor fitness equipment to supplement with their walking and biking, and I got positive comments all around.”
Barton began looking into what was available, as well as funding options. Toward the end of last year’s budget, there were funds available to purchase a five-station set of equipment.
“We got the equipment at a very reasonable cost from a leading playground manufacturer,” Barton said of the just less than $5,000 purchase from Miracle Recreation Equipment. “We then began looking for a place for it, and the open area at the far east end of Homesteader between the rest area and the softball complex seemed like an ideal location.”
The fitness stations are right off the pathway, with a bench nearby and a handicap walkway that leads up to the pathway.
“It’s fairly easy-accessible, with adequate parking, so it seemed like the perfect location,” Barton said. “We’re actually already seeing folks using it, so it’s great to see it being put to use.”
There are five stations to the set: The two-step, the dip and leg raise, the stable press, the ab bench and the station row. Each station is equipped with an instructional placard that outlines the various exercises that can be performed at each stop. Done all together, it’s a full-body workout.
“The way the sets are designed, it’s designed to work all the different muscle groups that you would use in a normal gym setting,” Barton said. “Having the diagram on each of the posts at each station is important for safety, and almost every station has a couple of ways that you can use it.”
Barton said choosing equipment for local parks, whether it be the fitness stations at Homesteader or the adaptive swing at Beartooth Park, can be a challenge. Public input is crucial in deciding what will hopefully be a purchase the community will enjoy for years to come.
“There was enough interest and enough feedback for us to move forward with this project,” he said. “Folks seemed generally interested and wanted to have something like this. Things just happened to fall into place with our budget and the location. A lot of folks pay to use a fitness facility; this provides a workout free to the public.”
Barton credits a playground equipment conference he attended in Butte, Montana, last year for showing him what was available in terms of equipment, as well as updating him on current trends.
“One of the things that they went over as part of the program is what is up-and-coming and what is falling by the wayside as far as equipment goes,” he said. “It was mentioned that fitness equipment seems to be the up-and-coming thing. You usually see the fitness equipment adjacent to a playground, so while the kids are playing, the adults can do their thing on the fitness equipment. We did it a little differently. Rather than having it connected to an existing playground, we thought we’d have it as a separate entity for people using the pathway.”
Because of the open-area location of the stations, Barton said from time to time, the irrigation system will be in operation during the day; people may want to keep in mind that the sprinklers may come on in the midst of a workout,.
“Generally, the sprinklers are on at night, but occasionally, if there’s a need, they will come on during the day,” he said. “The other thing we’re trying to let folks know is that each station has a diagram on how to use the equipment correctly. We want people to use the stations the way they’re designed. And with any equipment, much like playground equipment, you use it at your own risk ... It’s really high-quality stuff, and should last a long time.”
The fitness stations are available to use any time the park is open, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday.