OTTUMWA — One of the ways Ottumwa can better thrive as a community is by making sure each community member has the opportunity to be healthy and physically fit.
From new fitness centers opening, like Downtown Fitness at the corner of Washington and Fourth streets, to a multi-mile trail system that walkers, runners and bikers can enjoy, Ottumwa seems to be focused on trying to become more physically fit.
The Ottumwa Parks Department has been working hard in past years with improving the trail systems around the city to encourage being more physically active, but they are taking it a step further with the fitness station that has been created in Greater Ottumwa Park.
When the weather allows, unless a brave soul dares to walk the trails during the winter, the fitness station is almost always busy with people taking a break from their cardio to get a workout in.
“The stuff that’s there has been heavily used,” said Gene Rathje, Ottumwa Parks Department director. “It also fits in very well with all of the health initiatives happening around the community.”
The equipment was put in the park after the Rotary Club of Ottumwa decided to donate funds in 2012 to put a fitness station along the Ottumwa Trail System. Since the equipment has shown that it gets used frequently, the Rotary Club has decided to donate to add to the already-popular workout destination.
After receiving a $6,041 grant, the Rotary Club donated the money to the city of Ottumwa in order for the fitness station to expand with different types of workout machines.
In all, the equipment at the station will be doubled. Currently there are five pieces of equipment that can be used, but with help from the donation, the Parks Department, will be adding six new sections. Chin-up, vertical climb, body curl, sit-up, dip and hyperextension bench stations will all be added.
The total cost for the equipment is $3,541, and the remaining funds will go toward the concrete that has to be laid and painted to match what is already there.
Luckily, though, additional workers won’t have to be hired to do the work. Parks Department officials will be handling the construction, so it will not have to be paid for by tax dollars.
The frozen ground will put a delay on when park guests can use the new stations, however. In order for the equipment to be put up, the ground has to thaw so concrete can be laid, so the construction won’t begin until late March or early April, according to Rathje.
He also said great thanks are in order for the volunteer groups in the community that want to make a positive impact in Ottumwa.
“We all work together as a team to make these projects happen,” Rathje said.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh