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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)


With help from the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga and The Howard School's Key Club, the school now has 14 fitness stations and a 1.5-mile trail surrounding its athletic fields.

Club president Leigh Todd said the service organization is "centered on helping the children of Chattanooga and exhibiting the Kiwanis' motto of 'Serving the Children of the World'" and was looking to fund a project on Chattanooga's Southside. Having chartered the club's high school equivalent, called Key Club, at Howard a few months prior, they asked the school if they would be interested in an outdoor building project, and together the two clubs came up with the idea for the trail and fitness stations.

"We met with the [Key] club a couple of times and they helped put the planning together for ... what they wanted to build there," said Kiwanis Club member Bobby Dann, who helped with the build. "Then we went to the coaches at Howard -- the football coach, the soccer coach and the baseball coach -- and showed them the equipment and asked them where they would like those various stations placed so that their players could take advantage of it too."

The $25,000 build took place over three Saturdays, with the last day involving 85-100 workers finishing the project, Dann said. The fitness installations include push-up and sit-up stations, balance beams and more, placed along the new jogging trail that encircles the baseball, soccer and football fields. PlayCore, a Chattanooga-based playground company, provided the equipment.

"Volunteers from several organizations reported in number early in the mornings and left late," said Cmdr. Dirk Ames, who heads the school's JROTC program. "Their support and the substantial corporate donations made this project come to fruition. The efforts are truly appreciated."

To fund the project, the clubs created a pentathlon-style event sponsored by various Chattanooga businesses that ended up raising about half of the funds needed, Dann said. The other half came from a Kiwanis International grant and an anonymous donor.

Dann said the trail and stations are already being utilized by the baseball and soccer teams and the JROTC, and enhancements are planned.

"We now have the shop class over there building picnic tables and benches that will be set up close to the field so that families can observe the baseball games and soccer games," he said.

And the club is currently brainstorming ideas for a similar project at another location next year, said Dann.

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October 30, 2017


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