SWEPCO, on behalf of the AEP Foundation, recently presented the City of Texarkana, Texas, a $100,000 grant to build an outdoor fitness center at a city park and reopen two community centers.
“The World’s Best Outdoor Gym”
The bulk of the funding – $50,000 – will be used to build a National Fitness Campaign Fitness Court at Spring Lake Park. Fitness Courts are innovative outdoor bodyweight circuit training centers that enable adults of all ages and abilities access to a free outdoor workout.
Touted as “The World’s Best Outdoor Gym,” the Fitness Court is designed to provide a full body workout in only seven minutes. It also has an app that provides a content library of free workouts to use while exercising.
“We’re really excited about this project,” said Robby Robertson, City of Texarkana Parks and Recreation Director. “It’s something we’ve been working on for about a year.”
The National Fitness Campaign provides free outdoor fitness centers in communities throughout the nation. It’s partnered with 11 cities, including Texarkana, on projects this year.
Reopening Community Centers
The Rosehill Community Center and the Beverly Community Center each received $25,000 to assist with the reopening, revitalization, and implementation of programs at their facilities. Both centers focus on providing educational and informational programs for youth and young adults.
After closing its doors in 2012 due to lack of funding, the Beverly Community Center is hoping to reopen in January 2023, said center president Kristie Kendricks. “With the reopening of the Beverly Center, the timing really works,” she said of the grant.
The grant will assist the center in building updates as well as implementing programs such as after-school tutoring, mentorships, STEM, and health and fitness with a focus on addressing youth obesity.
The Rosehill Community Center reopened in 2021 after relocating into the building once housed by the Boys and Girls Club, according to center president Rhonda Dolberry.
Dolberry also said Rosehill has provided programming to 61 youth in the community and 52 young adults. The goal is to increase this number in 2022 by 25% and continue to increase services each year moving forward.
The grant will assist in supporting various initiatives, including Rosehill’s computer program, Girls Who Code; physical fitness programs such as the GirlTrek walking program; an outdoor take-and-go library; and the community garden. “We appreciate the finances, but most of all the willingness to partner with us as we work to revitalize our communities,” Dolberry said.