VALPARAISO | The LifeTrail Advanced Wellness System and its seven workout stations were officially opened to the public Thursday, but nobody was interested in braving chilly temperatures and trying out any of the 20 exercise stations or 150 different activities it offered.
In near-wintry wind chills, the closest anyone came to exercise was a fast shuffle to the Butterfield Family Pavilion after the ribbon cutting for hot chocolate and slices of pumpkin roll. About 25 people attended the brief ceremony next to the jogging/walking trail at the south end of Old Fairgrounds Park, including Mayor Jon Costas.
"We are driven to make the city a better place," Costas said. "When we all do it together, it works. It's all about helping people live as vibrantly as they can at any age. I've run this trail many times, and now we have a facility to encourage people to come out and be active and socialize."
Parks Director John Seibert said though signs indicate the equipment is designed for those 50 and up, including people in wheelchairs, it is for people of all ages. The trail is used by about 500 people a day during good weather, he said.
Lights will be installed next week to light up the equipment each evening until the park closes at 10 p.m. Seibert said the equipment, which was purchased with a $73,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Communities for a Lifetime program, is designed to be used all year.
The city plans to hold another grand opening in the spring, when the parks department will offer training on the equipment through the Elderstyle program managed by Pine Village Retirement Communities. Each LifeTrail station has illustrations of suggested exercises for anyone with the urge to start now.
But for the next several days at least, they'll have to bring their own warm clothing.