Mar. 22—City Councilors approved a resolution during the regular meeting that would allow the city to go after a $30k grant for a fitness court.
The fitness court — and $30k grant — is part of the National Fitness Campaign’s “Healthy City Campaign.”
The National Fitness Campaign is a nonprofit organization based in California with the mission to “build a free outdoor fitness court within a 10 minute bike ride of every American.”
The cost of the project is $155k. If the city receives the grant, the $125k remaining balance would be paid with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Director of Community Development Andrew Knifechief said the ARPA funds are limited to specific areas including green spaces and public parks.
Knifechief said this project would help the community deal with the effects of COVID-19 and provide areas where people can go to engage in healthy activities.
“These workout facilities are perfect for helping our community become healthier,” he said. “Our goal is to put it along the existing trail somewhere.”
The fitness court would be a 38-by-38 foot space which includes a variety of equipment and would be placed somewhere along the Claremore trail system.
Mayor Bill Flanagan said the Claremore Lake is the ideal place for the fitness court.
“We’re constantly making investments out at Claremore Lake,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan said there’s low maintenance — $1,500 a year — and a zero cost to people who would use it.
“This is just another way to make this trail beneficial,” he said.
Flanagan said it comes down to making existing facilities more usable to more people.
Councilor Justin Michael said he sees many issues with the project.
“I don’t know that Claremore is the best place for this,” he said.
Whether it be inclement weather or a potential liability, Michael said he doesn’t see the value in the project for Claremore.
City Manager John Feary said this fitness court would be no more of a liability than the new park installed at the Claremore Museum of History.
Michael said the type of equipment that would be built would be for people who are already physically fit.
“This equipment is for people that want to show themselves off — exercising in front of other people,” he said. “People who really need these things, I see a lot of people going ‘I’m not doing that in front of other people to see me…'”
Councilor Josh Fellman echoed those concerns saying he also doesn’t see the value in the project.
Since 1970, National Fitness Campaign has built outdoor fitness parks in over 500 cities, Knifechief said. National Fitness Campaign reached out to Knifechief in early January about their “Healthy City Campaign.”
Knifechief said programs like these are typically centered in high urban areas, however, they created this concept for smaller communities.
Knifechief said this program goes along with a plan to increase trail activity and the Comprehensive Plan that was just approved.
“We are trying to create a city that has a lifestyle that’s supportive of healthy endeavors,” he said.
He said he hopes this facility would encourage people to get active and use the spaces available.