Mission’s latest outdoor attraction is now open to the public. The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Fitness Court at Hollis Rutledge Park at 3408 N. Inspiration Road.
A Fitness Court is an outdoor gym with workout stations for bodyweight circuit training. It has seven stations with equipment designed for a full-body workout in at least seven minutes. Some of the amenities include pull-up bars, steady rings and plyometric boxes. The space is a bright blue with a cushioned mat for safety, intended for ages 14 and up.
The court is part of the National Fitness Campaign — the organization that developed this specific concept of the outdoor gym and has introduced it to communities throughout the United States.
City leaders spoke excitedly about the new outdoor facility at the ribbon-cutting event and how it will provide a unique exercise opportunity for Missionites.
“We listened to what people wanted and we tried to get this to happen, and today is a testament to that,” Mayor Norie Gonzalez Garza said. “This initiative shows that when we all come together we can do incredible things. We hope it inspires other municipalities to transform their public spaces into community fitness hubs.”
The city was able to install the Fitness Court due to a sponsorship from BlueCross BlueShield of Texas in which they awarded Mission with a $50,000 grant. The total project cost was $167,350, but $117,350 came from the American Rescue Plan Act funds. ARPA funds are federal monies intended for pandemic recovery assistance. Mission was able to use ARPA funds for the Fitness Court because it is an effort to address public health.
“As we all know, in the past several years, COVID-19 has reminded us how important our health is. This Fitness Court will provide a free, inclusive and accessible opportunity for residents to prioritize their health,” City Manager Randy Perez said. “Since the pandemic, we have seen a drastic increase in citizens utilizing our parks and trails. Quality of life upgrades and enhancements is what brings communities together and creates lifelong memories, and that’s what we intend to do.”
Director of Parks and Recreations Brad Bentsen spoke more on the evolution of exercise activities and equipment. In a June interview, he said he noticed indoor gyms had grown in popularity over the years. But the Fitness Court in Mission is free; it caters to people who cannot afford a gym membership or those who prefer to exercise outdoors.
The court is designed for inclusivity and created with all abilities in mind. Users can adapt exercises for their preferred fitness level to move at their own pace.
At the ceremony, a few Special Olympics competitors demonstrated how to use the stations, and Mission Fire and Mission Police officers participated in a friendly circuit training competition.
“This equipment will continue to bring more people outside for a healthier lifestyle and foster the major wave of trail usage on a multi-generational level,” Bentsen said. “This equipment will serve as an energizing social community hub…”