Outdoor Fitness Court could be coming soon to Community Park

The Mebane City Council will be considering a new Outdoor Fitness Court for the Mebane Community Park as part of its upcoming series of budget discussions. Mebane is positioned to receive a $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) for the Outdoor Fitness Court, and the City of Mebane would provide a $30,000 match. The additional $60,000 for the proposed fitness project would come from private donations, but Mebane Assistant City Manager Chris Rollins indicated that the City is optimistic it could quickly secure the $60,000 from a collection of local private donors. 

The City of Mebane has submitted a grant application and was awarded a grant from the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) for the construction of an Outdoor Fitness Court at the new Mebane Community Park. 

“It’s an Outdoor Fitness Court that would be offered for free to all the community’s citizens in Mebane,” Mebane Recreation and Parks Director Aaron Davis told the Mebane City Council at its April 1 session. “The way that we have it configured, it would look really good right as you come into the park. The progressive training wall would have marketing possibilities that would look right towards the traffic as they would enter. That would be very good to any prospective sponsors.” 

According to Davis, there are seven different components within the Outdoor Fitness Court - Core, Squat, Push, Pull, Lunge, Agility, and Bend. 

The Outdoor Fitness Court will include destabilized pushing rings, stabilized freeform pushing bars, stabilized pull-up bar, destabilized pulling rings, a destabilized “let me in” handle, rowing, dots, ladders, bending station, lunge boxes, plyometric/squat boxes, footholds strips, mural wall, and flooring (2x2 tiles or pour in place). 

“It’s all weight-bearing training. You use your own weight for resistance,” Davis said of the facility. 

As part of being awarded a $30,000 grant to help fund the equipment for the Outdoor Fitness Court, the Mebane City Council must adopt a resolution to accept the awarded grant from the NFC. The City must be dedicated to fundraising, construction, and future maintenance of the Outdoor Fitness Court, and agree to complete the construction of the entire project in the calendar year 2019. 

Mebane has until the end of their current fiscal year - the June 30/July 1 timeframe - to decide whether or not to formally pursue the grant and the Outdoor Fitness Court. 

“The city has 60 days to move forward with the proposed park,” Davis explained. “It goes to the mission of being happy and healthy for our community.” 

The total amount of the Outdoor Fitness Court project at the new Mebane Community Park is $120,000. 

Along with the $30,000 NFC grant, the City of Mebane would match $30,000, and the additional $60,000 would be provided by a collection of local sponsors. 

“They (the National Fitness Campaign) can put together marketing plans and sponsorship packets, and help us with that. But it would be our responsibility to go out and get the money (for the additional $60,000),” Davis said. 

“We’ve had a couple early conversations with people, and it’s been very well received,” Mebane Assistant City Manager Chris Rollins told the City Council as far as attaining the $60,000 of the $120,000 total cost of the project through local private sponsors. 

“There’s nothing like this in this entire region. We were hoping to make four or five or six calls and see if we could obtain the funding without having to do a huge marketing campaign. It just felt that wouldn’t be necessary. The National Fitness Campaign is actually very prepared and does this in a lot of other communities. We were hoping to keep it simple.”

Davis indicated that if the Outdoor Fitness Court was approved on or before July 1, the project’s completion would be approximately September. The private sponsors do not have to come up with the money by June 30/July 1, though they will have to provide a financial commitment to move forward with the project and its projected September completion date.  

“The National Fitness Campaign was very flexible with us,” Rollins added. “Part of the whole discussion with us is if the funds do not work out (in the calendar year 2019), they would probably extend it to a further date. If we have it in the current budget, we can move forward. If not, we’ll have it be a part of the presentation for next year’s budget. They (the NFC) told us if they committed, and we committed, but the fundraising didn’t happen (this calendar year), we can extend that period, so we have more time to raise funds.”

The City Council did not vote up or down on the grant at the April 1 meeting, electing instead to make it a part of the elected board’s discussions at its budget work session on Tuesday, April 16.

“I just think we need to put this discussion off until budget time,” longtime City Council member Tim Bradley said. “To be fair to everybody, we should hear all the requests at the same time. That’s just my opinion. It’s a great-looking concept. And I appreciate you going after it (the NFC grant). I would just like to hear all the requests in a similar timeframe, and weigh things together.”