PORT ANGELES — A community effort is underway to raise money to build a new calisthenics park in Port Angeles that will feature a variety of training stations.
The calisthenics park would be located on city-owned property at the intersection of South Francis and East Fourth streets, just northwest of the Erickson Playfield tennis courts, said Jesse Banks, who is helping organize the initiative in cooperation with the city of Port Angeles.
“There is a flat area there that is a good spot for it — good open space,” said Corey Delikat, parks and recreation director.
“It will get well used.”
Banks has already raised $12,000 in donations from the community to buy the exercise equipment — which is now in city of Port Angeles storage — but needs another $24,000 to purchase rubber surfacing on top of which the equipment will be installed, Delikat said.
Nor’Wester Rotary of Port Angeles will collect the donations on behalf of the project. Because Rotary is a nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible.
To donate, send a check payable to Nor’Wester Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 176, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Donors should specify the money is intended for the calisthenics park project.
If requested, donors will be sent receipts in January if they make a donation this month, Banks said.
“We are very grateful to the city of Port Angeles and Nor’wester Rotary for their support,” Banks said.
Once the fundraising goal is complete, the new park could be installed by summer 2017, Delikat said.
“We have [a] talented crew that can actually install playgrounds,” he said.
“A lot of municipalities don’t put in their own playgrounds. That is just part of the cost of hiring a playground company to come in and do that. In-house, we have installed all of our playgrounds.”
Because the calisthenics park will be free to use, “it is going to be a perfect addition to the recreation zone that Erickson Playfield has already become,” Banks said.
And, he continued, “it being next to the Dream Park will allow one parent to watch a kid while another parent works out and they can switch.”
Furthermore, Banks said he hopes that seeing people working out on the equipment will inspire others to do the same.
“We hope people will share our vision of a healthier Port Angeles and help make the Port Angeles Calisthenics Park a reality,” he said.
“We’ve got this going. Let’s finish it.”
There will be nine different stations at the calisthenics park, “and when you go in there, there is going to be a big sign that will [list] certain kinds of exercises,” Banks said.
To bolster fundraising efforts, Banks said personalized signs erected at each station will be available for sponsorships. Each sign will display the name of the sponsor.
Despite the high purchase price, the rubber flooring is essential, Delikat said, adding that once installed, it is virtually maintenance-free.
“When we put down gravel or wood chips, it really cuts down on the types of users who can use the facility,” he said.
“We are almost to the point where we require that [rubber] material. It is safe and it is clean and once it is down, you don’t have to worry about it.”
To illustrate the difference between a rubber surface and other more traditional means, Delikat referred to the Dream Playground at 302 S. Race St., which utilizes wood chips.
“We are constantly in there raking in the holes and leveling it out — adding chips,” he said.
Rubber flooring “is less maintenance,” he continued.
“It is actually no maintenance, really.”
Banks, a Port Angeles native and boxing instructor, said he began planning for the new calisthenics park in 2015 with his friend Phil Hutton.
He said he learned about calisthenics — a method of exercising by using body weight for strength training — and was impressed with the results in his own workouts.
A calisthenics park, he said, would provide the community with a free, safe and easily accessible place to work out, train, practice and reap the benefits of staying healthy by working-out outdoors.
Banks and Hutton later proposed the project to Delikat and the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee, which voiced support for the project if the duo could raise $12,000 to purchase the exercise equipment, Banks said.
“It was something that when he came to me was very exciting,” Delikat said.
“The parks commission loved the idea of incorporating exercise equipment in one of our busiest parks where there are a lot of options for kids to do.”