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Get moving - Civic club donates new machines to Mill Creek walking trail
Summer Reese, 6, tries out some of the new fitness equipment donated by the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro to Mill Creek Regional Park Tuesday while waiting for her mom, Tiffany, to wind up her jog.
     Mill Creek Regional Park has always been a place where exercise is the main focus, but now citizens will benefit from a gift a local civic club added to the park’s walking trail.
    Now, call the meandering path around the park a fitness trail, because there’s a great deal more to do since the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro donated about $21,000 worth of exercise equipment and volunteered to help install the workout stations along the trail.
    Born from an idea past club president John Kohn had when he visited a New Orleans park, the fitness trail was well received by the club and fundraising efforts led to the realization of a dream, said current Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro President Mary Hazeldine.
    “Rotary International’s theme this year is ‘Making Dreams Come True,’ and that’s what I call making dreams come true,” she said.
    The fitness trail will offer citizens “better health,” she said. “They can walk a little and exercise a little, walk, exercise.”
    The fitness trail includes 10 stations — a ski stepper/air walker, mini ski, pull downs, sit-ups,  health walker, waist twist, power push, parallel rails, leg stretch and push hands. The equipment is made from galvanized steel tubing with powder coating.
    The vinyl parts of the equipment include an anti-microbial agent that protects the equipment from bacteria, mold, algae and fungi and minimizes stains caused by these.
    “It should hold up very well,” said Mike Rollins, Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation director. “They are very sturdy and offer some variety in terms of exercise.”
    The trail is well used, and people walk along the trail every day from 5 a.m. to midnight, he said. But giving the pattern of walking and number of walkers, the trail equipment should be available to everyone, as most will only spend a few minutes at each station before moving along to the next one.
    Kohn was reluctant to take credit for the project, but admitted it was his idea. “I may be  the author ... but a whole lot of people had to get together to make this happen,” he said.
    The club “sold a lot of Boston butts” to raise the money to fund his idea, which he got when visiting Audubon Park in New Orleans.
    And when the money was raised and the equipment purchased, 15 Downtown Statesboro Rotary Club members gathered to help install the equipment.
    “I think it looks absolutely great,” Kohn said.
    His interest in fitness began after a heart attack and subsequent operation. Told by his doctors he needed to walk, he began doing so.
    When he saw the equipment at the New Orleans park, he knew similar equipment would be a great addition to Mill Creek Park.
    “I went to the (Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro) board and they liked the idea,” he said.
    Club members also marked off the walking trail in quarter-mile increments so walkers could keep track of how far they walk and how long it  takes them, he said.
    Looking at the completed project, he is proud.
    “The nicest thing is seeing people use this equipment,” he said.
    Hazeldine said the club, comprised of 80 members who split from the Statesboro Rotary Club because meeting in the mornings for breakfast suited them better than lunch time meetings, is pleased to be able to make the contribution to the park.
    “We feel like we were really giving back to the community,” she said.
    Rollins said the equipment will be especially beneficial for those who need or wish to exercise using such equipment but do not belong to a gym or exercise facility.
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