This article originally ran in the June 3 issue of the Progress Times.
Mission will soon add a new attraction to its parks and recreation amenities — a Fitness Court. Through the National Fitness Campaign and sponsorship from BlueCross BlueShield, the city of Mission received a $50,000 grant to make the Fitness Court possible.
A Fitness Court is an outdoor gym designed for bodyweight circuit training. It includes a cushioned mat, pull-up bars, steady rings, plyometric boxes and other stations mounted or staged on the space for users to tailor their workouts. The National Fitness Campaign developed this specific concept of the outdoor gym to bring exercise variety to communities. Though they developed the court in 1979, the Campaign redesigned and updated the elements for modern exercises.
Director of Parks and Recreation Brad Bentsen spearheaded the effort to bring it to Mission.
“During COVID, and up until just recently, a lot of our equipment was guarded or protected from use just because of trying to avoid the spread of COVID,” Bentsen said. “And the main things that were left open were just our trails and our noncontact sports. And people started using the trails a lot. I saw the fitness campaign program through an email invitation and I jumped on it.”
The total project cost is $167,350. The Fitness Court and equipment cost is $142,350, which the city will partially pay for with the $50,000 grant. The remaining $117,350 will come from American Rescue Plan Act funds. But the city is saving $20,000 for the cement foundation of the court by using in-house resources.
Mission’s Fitness Court will be at Hollis Rutledge Park at 3408 N. Inspiration Road. Bentsen said the city decided on Hollis Rutledge because the people that exercise and walk the trails at Hollis have been asking for workout equipment for about two years.
The Fitness Court is designed for adults, but Bentsen said high school students should be able to utilize the equipment; elementary-level students, however, might be too small. The concrete slab will be 38 feet by 38 feet, but the workout space will be about 34 feet by 32 feet. Additionally, users can download a phone application with pre-designed workouts and circuit training.
Before the court installation, Mission will have to prepare the site, pour the concrete foundation and let it cure for about 30 days. Once cured, the rest of the court amenities will follow. Bentsen said everything should be complete and in place by the end of July, and he is excited about the new attraction.
“The surge now that you see with people working out at Gold’s Gym and other facilities, everybody’s working out inside. I’m amazed when I look at the number of people parked in the parking lots of the different indoor gyms. And some can afford it, some can’t,” the parks and rec director said. “But [Fitness Court is] free and it’s all based on your ability and your agility, but it’s outdoors, and I just love the outdoors. I can’t get enough of it. Exposure to the outdoors is really good.”