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Dekker: Tinley Park’s new fitness center opens within rec center

Julie Dekker

Julie Dekker

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Updated: December 11, 2013 6:10AM



The Tinley Park Park District will celebrate the opening of its expanded fitness center with an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center, 8125 W. 171st St..

I recently took a tour of the new fitness area, which opened Monday, with Karol Komar, the park district’s facility manager, who described it as having “all the benefits of a full-service, state-of-the-art health club.”

She wasn’t kidding. The space is impressive and filled with every type of fitness and strength training equipment you could ask for, including disabled-accessible exercise machines. Every piece of equipment is brand new and offers the latest technology.

There’s a four-lane lap pool with complete accessibility for the disabled, and the pool area has locker rooms, showers and a sauna. There is also a party room adjoining the pool that can be rented for private parties.

The aerobics and exercise room is huge, and Komar said that there are about 40 classes offered per week, all included within the center’s membership fee.

There’s more to the addition than meets the eye. There’s a lower level that houses a youth sports and events room, indoor batting cages with a pitching machine and a new teen center. There’s a quiet area for doing homework and relaxing at the teen center, and a gaming area with a pool table, air hockey, ping pong and other table games.

I was most impressed by the interactive area of the teen center that’s a combination of fitness and fun. A rotating rock-climbing wall called the Freedom Climber lets you climb at your own level. There’s something called a “T Wall,” which is a series of LED panels that light up and react to touch. There are floor light games that are projected down from the ceiling designed to get your feet moving.

My favorite was the “exerbikes,” stationary bicycles that are hooked up to video games that run on “pedal to play” technology. If you want to play, then you have to pedal! That sounds like exercise to me.

There sure wasn’t anything like this teen center when I was a kid. I wanted to try everything. I was told that there will be family nights held there so maybe I’ll get my chance.

During the open house, there will be guided tours and special giveaways.

For more information, tinleyparkdistrict.org.

It’s a big step for Garden Gallery

Congratulations to the Garden Gallery and Studio in downtown Tinley Park, which has achieved another level of success in just its second year in the village. Garden Gallery was invited to exhibit at the prestigious SOFA Chicago Expo, which was held Nov. 1-3 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall.

The Sculpture Objects Functional Art & Design Expo is the world’s foremost show dedicated to studio glass, ceramics, wood, fiber and metal. It attracts more than 30,000 visitors every year and exhibitors from the U.S. and around the world.

Garden Gallery clients created hand-painted silk scarves, bags and weavings for the show.

I attended the opening night of the expo and saw incredible and dynamic artwork from around the world that was beyond imagination. Being invited to participate in the expo was truly an honor for Garden Gallery.

“This is big,” gallery director Beth Kopf said. “Being a part of SOFA Chicago is being accepted into the art world. It means, I hope, that we made it.”

Garden Gallery and Studio, 17459 Oak Park Ave., helps artists with developmental disabilities impact the world of art while breaking down social barriers.

“There are no disabilities in art,” Kopf said.

To find out more, visit www.GardenGalleryandStudio.org



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