The Minot Family YMCA is looking to take part of their fitness facility outside for the entire community to use and enjoy. As an organization committed to improving the health and fitness of youth and adults in the Minot area, they believe getting families up and moving is essential. The Y has developed designs for a park that encourages exercise.
Roger Mazurek, director for the Minot Family YMCA, said they're building the community outdoor fitness park on an "a la carte" basis. First they needed the land, he explained, so the Y purchased an acre of land south of the facility, which allowed them to expand in that area. The Y is looking at a north side expansion and at an outside area, Mazurek said, and are hoping to have it ready by next summer. They are a few weeks away from drawing up a map and asking the City of Minot for approval, he added.
The plan is to create a path that will connect with 16th Street and 13th Street so that people can come to the park from the outside and use the circuit training site. The fitness park's jogging/walking path will go along the perimeter of the Y building, and the current path that goes up and down 16th Street will connect with the fitness park's trail, "so that eventually the path system will be a good one," he said.
Roger Mazurek, director for the Minot Family YMCA, points to an area where the community outdoor fitness park will soon be located. The YMCA has plans to build an outdoor fitness park that will consist of a jogging/walking path, fitness stations with exercise equipment, and day camp cabin/shelter and activity area.
The community outdoor fitness park will include a jogging/walking path, fitness stations with exercise equipment including a cardio stepper, pull-up system, squat press, assisted row machine, plyometrics, balance steps, mobility station, tai Chi wheels, chest/back press, and ab-crunch and leg lift system; and a day camp cabin/shelter and activity area, Mazurek said.
The outdoor fitness equipment will be good for all ages and will be able to withstand the winter months, Mazurek also noted. The Y is also looking at incorporating an outdoor shelter to use for the children's day camp activities.
"We're looking for the outdoor area to have shelter so that kids can have the outdoor experience," he said.
Mazurek said a lot of black dirt will have to be brought in and new parking may be added. They're also thinking of making the fitness trail out of agri-lime to give a similar feel of a softball field, he noted, because it gives good compaction. The other option, Mazurek said, would be make it a concrete trail since the sidewalk portions are already in position.
There will be no supervision provided at the community outdoor fitness park. Mazurek said it will just be open like other parks. The only time there will be supervision, he added, would be when there are large group activities going on. The staff at the Y will maintain the area, he also said.
The community outdoor fitness park wasn't any one single person's idea, but the idea of many people, Mazurek said.
"It was a dream that has been carried from one person to another," he said. They started the outdoor park concept as part of their recent expansion from three to four years ago when the Sertoma Club gave the Y the current outdoor playground as a gift, Mazurek explained. Recently, the building committee put together a master plan for the community outdoor fitness park, he continued, and it will be a multi-phase dream that will never end.
Mazurek said there are no outdoor parks in southwest Minot, except for a small one near the Woodridge mobile home area, and it's an area of growth, so there's a need for an outdoor playground. In turn, that kicked off the thought of the fitness park.
"A park would fit in this area of the community," he added. "It will allow kids to come to the park without having to cross any streets."
With the community outdoor fitness park, Mazurek said he felt like the park's goals met with the goals of the Y. The goals of the fitness park include providing additional recreational opportunities for people in the community, improving health, and providing a family-friendly environment, according to Mazurek.
Currently, those involved in the project are raising contributions, writing grants to large foundations in the area, and seeking gifts from Y members, Mazurek said. He thought it was interesting, he noted, that the price of land was accessible for them and they bought it at a good time because there would have been a problem if they'd have waited. So far, they have 80 percent of the $792,000 needed for the cost of the fitness park.
The only difficult part with the community outdoor fitness park has been with patience, Mazurek said.
"We have to be patient enough to wait for it to happen and try to accomplish things along the way," he said.
Mazurek said it's exciting for the fitness park to be a part of the community and to play a part in solving childhood obesity. In North Dakota, people have an 80 percent chance of being diagnosed as pre-diabetic by age 50 due sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating, he noted. Kids aren't active and spend a lot of time indoors, Mazurek added, and this will help kids get back into outdoor activities.
"We encourage outside activity and a healthy lifestyle. It'll be nice to see half a dozen kids on the playground," he said.
People seeking more information about the community outdoor fitness park or who are interested in making a contribution can contact the Y at 852-0141.