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Page last updated on June 29, 2018 at 12:17 pm

I would like to join my colleagues from the city in thanking, most sincerely, Fran Martin, Bob Martin, and the entire Martin family for choosing this unique and special way to honor Don. There are many accolades in Don's story, many accomplishments. But Don's passion for parks and recreation, which he shared with Americans across the country over the course of his career, will live on through this most generous and fitting gift to the people of Bloomington.

A fitness station may not be the first thing we look for when we are visiting a park. Our children certainly head for the playground, and we might seek out a picnic table, or a bit of shade where we can lie back with a book or enjoy lunch out of the office. But this particular park, the Winslow Sports Complex, is as unique as our benefactor.

Several years ago our Parks and Recreation Department paved the very popular trail that circles this park. The trail was gravel, and heavily used, and the trail needed more and more maintenance to keep it in good shape. So our staff measured out an exact mile, and paved the trail. The number of people that use this trail exploded! Once the trail surface became suitable for bicycles with training wheels, and for strollers, visitors with children found a new way to be active. The trail is also accessible, so our friends with mobility limitations also have access to a well-maintained and attractive place to enjoy Winslow Sports Complex.

You may know, however, that the Parks and Recreation Department does not sit back and admire its work, but rather asks, "what's next?" We identified the former fitness station, which once sat on this very spot, as a target for upgrade.

The decades-old fitness equipment here had served its useful life, and those who use this park and trail had a need for a more functional setup.

The equipment we’ve installed represents the great advancements that have been made in outdoor fitness technology and trends. It’s the first of its kind in the Bloomington parks system, and the same company is supplying the outdoor fitness stations for Switchyard Park.  This apparatus is manufactured to rugged specifications to withstand constant use in any climate. Since our fickle Indiana weather means it could very well be snowing this time tomorrow, that is an important consideration! Our new equipment is nearly maintenance-free, and we anticipate being able to use this particular setup for a long time!

The Parks and Recreation Department's most recent Community Survey told us that one of the benefits the public perceives from its parks is health and wellness. Parks are peaceful places to decompress, are great places to meet and socialize, and are free, accessible places to take part in healthy lifestyles. One lap around the Winslow Sports Complex trail, and using this fitness equipment every day, reduces the risk of health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Walking, running, and exercising elevates mood and reduces stress, too. We could all probably benefit from a lap around the park today.

This fitness equipment, available every day from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. when the park is open, means those who do not have the time or money for a gym membership still can use the kind of exercise equipment found in most fitness centers. The Martin family's generous donation means that anyone, of any fitness or ability level, can try out the equipment. Maybe this fitness station will be the reason that someone takes the first step on the trail to a healthier lifestyle. It certainly is a delightful addition to this sports-themed park, and again, we are extremely grateful for the gift.