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Free exercise equipment opens at Cobbs Hill Park

Sep 10, 2019

A new set of outdoor exercise equipment, free to the public, has opened at Cobbs Hill Park in Rochester.

The fitness court, on Norris Drive near Culver Road, is a square rubberized surface with one wall. Steps and platforms jut out of the ground. Metal bars extend from the wall.

Sean Smith, a gym owner and fitness ambassador for the new facility, said the equipment is designed to allow a person to exercise using their own body weight for resistance.

It’s arranged in stations, Smith said. “That one is the core station. That one is for squats, and this one is about pushing.”

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren speaks at the opening of an public outdoor fitness facility at Cobbs Hill Park on Tuesday.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

As a fitness ambassador, Smith said she will volunteer at the new facility to help people understand how to use it. She said she’s hoping people who don’t exercise regularly will stop by the fitness court so she can show them around.

“I love to be outdoors, getting the fresh air, and I’d love to help families see some of this and use some of this, too,” Smith said. “It’s good for everyone.” 

The facility is a partnership between MVP Health Care and the city of Rochester. Daniele Lyman-Torres, city commissioner of recreation and youth services, said the aim is to make fitness available for free.

“This is different than anything we have at any other facility,” Lyman-Torres said. “This is the next level of public programming and public fitness.”

Fitness ambassadors demonstrate exercises at a new fitness court in Cobbs Hill Park as Yvonne Donnelly of MVP Health Care speaks at the court's opening.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Lyman-Torres said public fitness equipment is available at other parks in the city, but this location is easily accessible by transit and features volunteers who can help users get the most out of the facility.

Still, Lyman-Torres acknowledged, encouraging people who do not already exercise regularly to visit the park to use the new fitness court could be a tough sell.

“I would just say, make a fun day out of it,” Lyman-Torres said. “Bring the family. Try it out. I think people will like it.”

Visitors to the park can download a free app that explains how to use the equipment, and the city’s website will list the hours that experts are available to help new exercisers.