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Older adults now have their own exercise space at Miller Park

City officials, Recreation and Parks staff, and AARP representatives cut ribbon to officially open the FitLot at Miller Park.

Older adults now have their own exercise space at Miller Park
June 03
11:38 2021

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

After a year of waiting due to the pandemic, the ribbon was finally cut to officially open the AARP FitLot at Miller Park. On Friday, May 28, at 10 a.m., city officials, AARP representatives, Recreation and Parks Department staff, and most excitedly older adults, gathered to celebrate the official opening and to try out the new exercise equipment that has been installed at the park.

Standing in front of the AARP FitLot, which was made possible by a grant from AARP, Mayor Allen Joines welcomed everyone and said, “What a fun day today is! We are one of only one city in North Carolina to receive this grant.” He drew a laugh from the crowd when he noted how good it felt to finally beat out Charlotte and Raleigh for something.

City Council Representative Kevin Mundy greeted the crowd and said, “I am so glad we can get back outside and enjoy this beautiful day.” 

William Royston, Recreation and Parks director, also spoke before the ribbon cutting and praised Chuck Vestal, Recreation and Parks adult programs supervisor, for his work in getting the AARP grant and for his years of service to the community’s older population. When he announced that Vestal would be retiring at the end of June, there was a collective “Awww … “ from the crowd, many of whom were wearing red Senior Games/SilverArts t-shirts.

N.C. AARP Representative Mark Hensley congratulated Winston-Salem as a grant recipient and mentioned that the AARP grant for FitLot was in celebration of AARP’s 60th anniversary. AARP will install one FitLot per state in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hensley said that AARP is committed to physical fitness and to breaking down barriers that create isolation of older adults. He also congratulated Age-Friendly Forsyth for “doing remarkable work in this community.”

After the ribbon was cut and the FitLot officially opened, attendees were invited to try out the equipment. Recreation and Parks staff  were on hand to give instructions on how to use each piece. There are 22 exercises possible on the various stations. A canopy above the structure will provide shade on hot summer days. The structure complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and can be used by people with multiple different levels of strength and mobility. In the future, trainers will be available to offer personal instruction. A schedule of classes is in the works for June and July.

Although the FitLot is designed for older adults, anyone is welcome to use it. For more information about FitLot or the training schedule, email Anna Marino at annam@nullcityofws.org.

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