Youngstown State University Campus Recreation Brings Fitness to Local Community

Youngstown State University

In mid-2015 Youngstown CityScape applied for funds from the Western Reserve Health Foundation to replace the Wick Park outdoor fitness equipment. CityScape anticipated replacing, and possibly relocating, the deteriorated, 35 year old outdoor fitness equipment currently located throughout the Park. CityScape received essential core funding from the Western Reserve Health Foundation in the fall of 2015 and immediately reached out to fitness experts at Youngstown State University’s (YSU) Departments of Campus Recreation and Housing & Residence Life and to the City, as well as stakeholders around the park, to begin collaborative planning on equipment selection and placement.

The group spent time researching and assessing the needs of current and potential users, including YSU, Ohio Living Park Vista Community, Ursuline High School, Beatitude House and North Side neighborhood organizations. It became clear that the right equipment and proper surfacing were required to make this project meaningful.  YSU’s Departments of Campus Recreation and Housing & Residence Life agreed to provide significant additional funding to the project, more than doubling the resources available for equipment and surfacing.

In the end, the partners selected Game Time Fitness Equipment, a leading manufacturer of playground and outdoor fitness equipment. Installation was completed in the fall of 2016. The project will provide new, laminated fitness-focused equipment to replace the existing, 35-year-old, difficult-to-maintain wooden equipment.  New equipment will offer an upgrade in facilities and provide a way to work on cardio, stretching, balance, and mobility.  All stations will have a high-density, poured rubber surface for the grounding, meeting all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) guidelines.

“Wick Park site is an ideal site for collaboration between CityScape, the City of Youngstown and Youngstown State University on a project like this” said Joy Polkabla-Byers, Director of YSU Campus Recreation. “It is in the heart of the city and less than 1/4 mile from YSU campus. It is nearby for numerous city residents and for many YSU student residence halls and living areas.” Sharon Letson, Executive Director of Youngstown CityScape also noted that Wick Park is a great location for employees of Mercy Healthy, St. Elizabeth’s downtown campus, and Ursuline High School students to utilize for achieving their health and wellness goals.

Campus Recreation will conduct organized training and fitness classes incorporating the exercise equipment in order to educate users on how to use the equipment and to demonstrate workout options.

The unique partnership between YSU, Youngstown CityScape and the City formed to fund, select and install new outdoor fitness equipment at Wick Park has been a winning combination. With enthusiasm and contribution from the partners to make certain this project worked, the entire community has ended up the winner.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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