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New park brings fitness machines outdoors in Tinley Park

Donte Jones tries out piece new exercise equipment thwas added Centennial Park near 167th Street Tinley Park IL Sunday September

Donte Jones tries out a piece of new exercise equipment that was added to Centennial Park near 167th Street in Tinley Park, IL on Sunday September 2, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 10, 2012 6:09AM



Eddie Czarnecki is thrilled that Tinley Park’s new outdoor exercise park is up and running.

“This is a great thing. I wish more people knew about it because it’s very worthwhile,” Czarnecki, 69, said last week during a break from his workout.

Best of all, the new outdoor exercise park allows folks to enjoy the benefits of a gym without paying membership dues, he said.

“It’s good stuff. I’m here just about every day” Czarnecki said. “It offers a full body workout.”

The park has exercise machines in an area just south of Fire Station No. 2, 7825 W. 167th St.

It opened a few weeks ago, said John Curran, director of the Tinley Park Park District.

“There used to be a playground there, but we took it out a few years ago. Then we put a bocce ball court, but nobody played, so we removed that. We had this open area and decided this would be a good use,” Curran said.

Nearly all the machines you’d find in an indoor gym are present. The exception is you don’t have to fiddle with changing weights on the machines.

“They all go against your own body weight. It’s all counter balanced, do we don’t need any (extra) weights out there,” Curran said.

And the machines are securely fastened with concrete.

“They’re not going anywhere,” Curran said.

Included are an elliptical trainer, a two-person chest press, a rowing machine, two-person incline boards used for sit-ups, a butterfly machine, a pull-down lat machine designed to strengthen muscles in the back and shoulders, a leg press, a two-person cross-country ski machine and a stationary bike

Inspiration for the park came from California, Curran said.

“It’s part of our intent to provide healthy choices for people in the community. I attended a conference in which they spoke of these outdoor fitness areas in California, where they’ve started building these in urban areas because out there there’s no room to expand parks,” Curran said.

“This gives people the opportunity to work out and the best thing about it is its free. I was out there a few days ago and a lady told me this was fantastic because she couldn’t afford to join a gym. She said it’s one of the great reasons for living in Tinley Park. She made me feel good saying that,” Curran said.

The price tag made the park district feel good. The equipment cost $18,999 and installation was $4,000, Curran said.

“It’s nice to have if you can’t afford a health club or you want to work out on a regular basis,” he said.

Park board commissioner Tom Mahoney, chairman of Mayor Ed Zabrocki’s health and wellness committee, “was instrumental in developing this park,” Curran said.

The machines are intended for use by those age 14 and older unless there’s adult supervision.

“I don’t mind if kids use them with adult supervision. That’s fine. It’s never too early to start exercising. But the younger kids really shouldn’t be using the machines alone. They could get hurt if they don’t use them the right way,” Czarnecki said.

He said he saw three young girls using the cross country machine incorrectly one day, and one girl suffered a scraped leg.

Czarnecki and his girlfriend, Tina Kempa, 43, of Tinley Park, plan to be frequent visitors to the fitness park, weather permitting.

“I think it’s a good idea because you can run, walk (or ride your) bike, and get a good a full workout,” Kempa said.

They rode their bikes to the park Monday using the Centennial Park walking path that’s strategically just a few yards away from the exercise machines.

“That way, if you’re out walking, you can stop and work out a bit,” Curran said.



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