City departments, officials inaugurate new fitness court

October 13, 2018

Two teams inaugurated the city’s new National Fitness Court Friday at Monte Bella Park in a friendly competition, but in the end, only one will be washing the other department’s vehicles.

Members of the Brownsville Police and Fire Departments were some of the first people to take on the National Fitness Campaign challenge during the new attraction’s launch party at Monte Bella Park, located at 2525 W. Alton Gloor Blvd.

The new fitness court, which is an outdoor bodyweight circuit-training system, is part of the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) and features a series of full-body exercises.

Aside from the facility itself, users can download the “Fitness Court App” to participate in challenges with people across the nation, among other features, including video tutorials for each workout.

The new attraction contains 30 individual pieces of equipment, shock-resistant sports flooring, and can accommodate up to 28 individuals at the same time.

At Friday’s launch party, District 4 City Commissioner Ben Neece said he is happy that Brownsville has a new amenity at Monte Bella Park for residents to utilize.

“ (Residents) should take full advantage of it,” Neece said. “This park is so nice. It’s one of our biggest parks. This is just another amenity for the park for them to come and enjoy and bring their children to start developing that healthy lifestyle.”

Brownsville Parks and Recreation Director Damaris McGlone said the department is trying to become more innovative and keep up with national trends in efforts to bring the best to the city.

“ We want to do the best for our citizens and provide you the best,” McGlone said. “We ask that everybody takes care of it and report if they ever see anybody misusing it so that we can keep it for many years to come.”

The parks and recreation director added that the new fitness court also provides a business opportunity for up-and-coming trainers.

“ If you want to develop an independent contract through us to utilize this court or any of our parks and you don’t have quite yet the business model to open up a facility, you can work with us to do that as well,” she said. “We can do an independent contract for those who have a certification and want to offer classes to the public.”

J.D. Flores, an instructor for the Brownsville Police Department, was the first representative from his force to participate in the challenge and said it was tougher than expected.

“ At first, you don’t know whether to pace yourself slowly or go fast and then towards the middle you start to realize it’s very difficult and you need to pace yourself in order to do well,” he said.

Brownsville firefighter Roy Lerma also participated in Friday’s challenge and echoed Flores’ statement regarding the fitness court’s difficulty.

“ It’s very important for us to have a good sense of health and wellness in our service,” Lerma said. “For us to come out and try out all these different obstacles, it’s very good for us to get the mobility workout.”

Brownsville interim Police Chief James Paschall and Fire Chief Jarrett V. Sheldon also attended the launch party.

Each chief was on the sidelines motivating and encouraging the participants.

“ We’re just glad to have this type of fitness court in Brownsville,” Paschall said. “It says a lot about our parks department that we’re actually putting some really, really good equipment out here for our citizens and for us as well. This is a step towards great health. The stations here, they serve as a great platform to get in good shape.”

Sheldon said the new attraction will benefit the entire Brownsville community and help improve the quality of life in the area.

“ I think it’s important that everybody comes out and tries it out,” he said. “It’s a new resource that the city has been able to provide. I want to encourage people to come try it out and live the healthy lifestyle. I know Brownsville has been really friendly in trying to provide all of these resources. It’s now time to come out and use them.”

Brownsville resident Nellie Donaldson, who attended Friday’s event, said she has already used the new fitness court.

“ I downloaded the app (last) Saturday and I came here Monday and Wednesday,” she said. “For folks who don’t want to go to the gym or let alone be paying a gym, they can come out here for free and you’re outdoors and it’s great.”

As far as the friendly competition’s results go, the Police Department came out victorious with a 1,324 to 1,103 win and will be riding in freshly washed units soon, courtesy of the Brownsville Fire Department.

A rematch is already set a year from now.


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