LEE, Mass. — The town’s new outdoor fitness court will provide accessible opportunities for exercise to students and the larger community.
A launch party was held Wednesday for the new infrastructure behind Lee Middle and High School where the community celebrated and even broke a sweat.
“The fitness court is, I think, a great example of what all of us town, school, and community partners, can do together for the benefit of our students and our community at large,” Principle Gregg Brighenti said.
Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield, it includes several different exercise stations that include box jumps, pull-ups, and back extensions.
“We’re excited to be the first location in Western Mass for this outdoor fitness court,” Town Administrator Christopher Brittain said.
Lee is the first community in Western Massachusetts to receive an outdoor fitness court. The town’s Department of Public Works applied for a grant through the National Fitness Campaign, contributing about $70,000 and receiving $50,000 from BCBS.
“I think that the Town of Lee should acknowledge itself, this wouldn’t happen without the citizens of the Town of Lee supporting it,” Select Board Chairman Bob Jones said.
“I grew up in Great Barrington but from the time I was a kid, I was always impressed with the Town of Lee and what it did for its youth, for physical fitness, and how cohesive the community was, particularly for things like this.”
This project involves virtually everyone in the town, he said, and residents should celebrate themselves.
Paul Sweeney, Vice President of Municipal and Labor Sales at BCBS, explained that the health insurance company is the state sponsor of the fitness courts. This is the sixth court they have opened since 2022 and the second of 12 that are planned to launch this year.
“Blue Cross is committed to helping people live healthy lives and eliminating the physical and social barriers that lead to health disparities so as a community-focused, taxpaying, not-for-profit healthcare company, we stand as an ally in strengthening the overall health of our communities while opening doors and increasing access to overall good health,” he said.
“We’re proud to partner with the National Fitness Campaign to build fitness courts across the Commonwealth and to provide communal gathering spaces and equitable access to premier free outdoor opportunities to exercise. We hope that the introduction of fitness courts will encourage more people to get active in their own communities and also empower citizens to live healthier, more active lives.”
The partnership between the town, Lee Public Schools, BCBS, and the National Fitness Campaign is said to provide free outdoor fitness within walking and cycling distance of about 1,000 Lee residents.
It was created with people ages 14 and over of all abilities in mind and workouts are adaptable to any fitness level. A free app is also available to act as a virtual coach and enhance the use of the court.
The town’s police force and DPW broke in the new court with a fitness challenge. After a friendly competition, the DPW came out on top and received a trophy.
The department also received recognition for helping install the court.
Justin Soules of Soules Fitness is the town’s ambassador for this program.
“This court is pretty fascinating because it allows you to do exercise and about every aspect of your body and how to move it, you can do here in a way that is both challenging and/or modified,” he said.
“So anybody of all ages can use this court and we will be happy to show demonstrations if people would like that.”
Soules urged people to contact him if they have questions about exercises or how to use the court.
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