Fitness Zone

By Cheryl Conway


Looking for some outdoor activity to engage those muscles?

Flanders Park offers a new Fitness Zone for outdoor exercise. Handicapped accessible, the 2,000 sq. ft. exercise station officially opened in May. 

Municipal employees and township officials gathered for its ribbon cutting Tuesday, May 23, to test out the equipment. They are excited by the community’s latest addition in outdoor exercise.   

Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum says the town is “always looking for new and different ways to get the community exercising.” It provides an “opportunity for additional fitness,” and the “equipment is easy to use.”

Adds Mt. Olive Twp. Council President Joe Nicastro, “I like that it is outdoors so everyone can use the equipment.”

The Mt. Olive Recreation Department had been considering options for outdoor exercise for some time. The administration applied for and received a state grant to fund the exercise station. 

“The purpose of the grant was to support improvements for public facilities, specifically to ensure public access to community facilities that were a result of the constraints confronted by the COVID19 pandemic,” says Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko.

“For years, the Recreation Department considered an outdoor fitness gym and this grant was the perfect opportunity to provide access to outdoor recreation which is critical for mental and physical health,” adds Tatarenko. 

The cost was $133K, of which $75K was funded through a NJ DCA Local Recreational Improvement grant, he says. Funds were allocated in the 2022 capital budget. 

Construction started in the first week in December 2022 and was completed in early March 2023, he says.

The Flanders Fitness Zone is about 2,000 square feet and features six stations which are handicapped accessible. These include a four-person lower body combo, four-person pendulum, abs & dip station, two-person cross country ski, two-person vertical press, two- person lateral pull down and four-person leg press.

 The equipment was made by Greenfields Outdoor Fitness purchased through Ben Shaffer Recreation.

The equipment is geared for those 14 years old and older and can accommodate up to 18 people at one time, says Tatarenko.

It is open to all and there are no sign-up requirements.  

 “It’s low maintenance and accessible to all,” says Tatarenko. “It gives all residents an equal opportunity to stay fit and healthy.”

Adds Nicastro, “It is a free option for people to use. Also being handicap accessible is another great option for people who might have difficulties with regular gym equipment. There are many exercise machines to choose from and being outdoors would make exercising a little more enjoyable.”

While Mt. Olive boasts several parks, Flanders Park was a good fit for the Fitness Zone. 

“Flanders Park was selected based upon its surroundings,” says Tatarenko. “It’s centrally located to several large residential communities (Cloverhill and Flanders Crossings), a Senior Living Facility, a 55 and over community and an affordable housing development.  Flanders Park is also heavily used for its walking path so we thought it would be a great addition for more exercise.” 

Adds Greenbaum, “the proximity to the senior development at Regency makes Flanders Park an excellent location for the equipment.”

Agrees Nicastro, “Flanders Park is a beautiful park that over the years was under-utilized. While we’ve made many improvements over the years this is just one more addition that will enhance the park. I’m very proud of all our parks. Of course, Turkey Brook Park is like our downtown, but it is nice to improve all our facilities for all residents to enjoy.”

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