VALPARAISO | Seven exercise stations. Twenty separate pieces of exercise equipment. Up to 150 different exercises.
The city's new LifeTrail Advance Wellness System at the south end of Fairgrounds Park unofficially will be open to the public Saturday with an official ribbon cutting planned for Oct. 24. The sign says it is designed for people 50 and over, but Parks Director John Seibert said its for everyone.
"It's something different, it's free and it promotes a healthy lifestyle," Seibert said. "We hope the people will want to use it and enjoy it."
The city received a $73,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Communities for a Lifetime program. That covered the cost of all the equipment, the installation, including the concrete pad on which it all sits, and lighting.
The only thing not covered by the grant is instructors. Although each station offers pictorial directions on several different exercises for each piece of equipment, the city is seeking grant funds to hire instructors for group instruction beginning in the spring.
"We want to get it up and going and folks can use it on their own, but with the Elderstyle consortium we will have another grand opening in the spring with people trained in how to use the equipment to its full extent," he said. "Then we will have a full set of programs for it in 2014."
Valparaiso was one of three cities chosen to receive the grants for the LifeTrail equipment because of the partnerships it has that help make Valparaiso a city of choice for aging in place by offering housing, health care and programs like the LifeTrail for the elderly.
The equipment also has several exercise stations designed for those in wheelchairs. A few finishing touches are scheduled to be done Friday for the unofficial opening on Saturday. The lighting will be installed in a couple of weeks when the lighting on the trail around the park is updated.
"When the equipment is clustered like this, people can connect to others too. We chose this location because it is visible from Evans Avenue so people will know it is here, and it is good for security with that visibility, especially after the lights are installed," he said.