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By mid-summer, fitness enthusiasts and people just looking to lose a little weight should have several places to work out in two Cranberry parks.
The Cranberry Township Community Chest will install up to three outdoor fitness stations in Graham Park and one in North Boundary Park as its 2014 community project. They could open by the July 10 kickoff of the township's Community Days.
"I think we hit a home run with this," said township Supervisor Bruce Mazzoni, the Community Chest's treasurer.
The organization is billing the stations as "essentially a free gym membership able to be used by people of different capabilities and physical skills."
Mazzoni said the stations will be the first of their kind in Pennsylvania. Though other parks in the area have individual exercise stations on trails, where people can stop and do exercises, the Cranberry park stations will be places where people can socialize as they work out.
The equipment is designed to stand up to the elements.
"Spring, summer, fall, the equipment should be well-used," Mazzoni said.
Community Chest board member Cindy Marzock said that each station will hold up to 15 pieces of gym equipment, some of which will be wheelchair accessible. Marzock said the equipment will focus on individual muscle groups designed to build core body strength, increase agility and enhance flexibility.
None of the equipment will be motorized, instead using someone's body weight to provide resistance.
For past community projects the organization installed an electronic community sign at routes 19 and 228, built the Scouting plaza in Graham Park in 2012, and constructed the Kids Castle playground in the township's Community Park.
Part of the funding for the projects has come from the township's annual Community Days festivals, which the Community Chest organizes.
Mazzoni said the organization is donating $75,000 toward the fitness stations. Victory Church in Cranberry gave $10,000, and Westinghouse and PNC Bank $5,000 each. Mazzoni said half the money needed, estimated at $200,000, has been raised. More donations will be solicited through direct mailings and neighborhood ambassadors.
How much equipment the stations will have depends on how much money is raised. Mazzoni said using township employees and resources, along with community volunteers, for the construction should save more than $125,000.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org