City council approves $80,000 for National Fitness Campaign

Hyattsville City Council voted to approve the appropriation of $80,000 for an outside fitness court. Photo courtesy of the National Fitness Campaign website.

BY BREANNA BELL — In a unanimous decision, Hyattsville’s city council voted during their Oct. 16 meeting to approve the amendments to the 2018 budget appropriating $80,000 for a fitness court as part of the city’s partnership with the National Fitness Campaign.

The city’s decision comes from their ongoing work with the campaign to improve residents’ fitness and promote active lifestyles in the community.

The National Fitness Campaign (NFC), according to the campaign’s site, is “a social enterprise” that partners with U.S. cities to provide easy and affordable access to workout equipment. The site describes the NFC Fitness Court as an outdoor gym that provides “a bodyweight circuit-training system designed for adults of all ages and fitness levels.” Each court includes 30 individual pieces of equipment and shock-resistant sports flooring. Its exercise stations allow for up to 28 individuals to use the court concurrently.

According to Jake Rollow, Hyattsville’s director of community services and public information officer, the city council has done, and continues to do, tremendous work to provide the community with opportunities to be more healthy and active, including passing a resolution for Hyattsville to join the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities & Towns Campaign.

Rollow said that the $80,000 appropriated to start the court’s construction will come from the general fund. He added that the court would be free and open to the public.

In her original proposal, city administrator Tracy Nicholson listed Magruder Park as the designated fitness court location. Nicholson added that Heurich Park would also be considered.

“We’ve got some great [location] options, and this is going to be a great advantage to the community, so nothing is off the table at this point,” said Nicholson.

Kenny Amosu, a resident of Hyattsville, said he visits Magruder Park frequently with his sons, ages 6 and 4, and thinks a new fitness court would make a “fabulous” addition to the park’s many fitness trails.

“I might start to work out over here more with the extra equipment at the park now, so I’ll have more to do when my children play!” Amosu said.

While most Hyattsville parkgoers believe the outdoor fitness facility would make a fine addition to Magruder Park, there is some concern about how its location could affect the environment.

Hyattsville resident Johnna Schmidt said, “I’m generally supportive of fitness initiatives and good things for the community as long as [they don’t] make the footprint of the woods smaller.”

Nicholson told the city council that plans for the court are all but complete, and, pending approval of the location, construction could begin next year.