The gym will include an elliptical machine, leg press, chest press, pull-up bars, dipping bars and an abdominal bench.
Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
By Janis Fontaine
Atlantic High School seniors Christelle Singh, 17, and Talia Vessal, 18, are in their final year in the international baccalaureate career program. The students, whose career paths focus on drafting and engineering, paired up to develop a plan and design for a community asset.
After brainstorming, they suggested designing an outdoor gym in Barwick Park in Delray Beach. Similar gyms have been popping up elsewhere, but there weren’t any in Delray Beach.
The project quickly gained momentum and got a lot of support from their teachers. The more work they did, the more support they got, and the more enthusiastic they became.
They chose Barwick Park because it is a little run-down from overuse. Barwick Park, at the intersection of Lake Ida and Barwick roads, has a 1¼-mile running trail, a children’s playground, a large field used for sporting events, and pavilions. “It’s in constant use by its large residential population,” Christelle said.
A meeting with the Delray Beach Parks and Recreation Department ended with approval from the city for them to raise money to build the first public outdoor gym in Delray Beach.
Now the students needed money, so Christelle and Talia created a GoFundMe web page.
The two plan to build the gym in four phases, especially if they don’t raise all the money they need right away. On Dec. 6, they’ll present their plan to the City Commission. They’re hoping to get some funding from the local government.
They’ve got a list of positive outcomes that could come from the gym: “We believe building an outdoor workout gym will create a healthier community, mentally and physically.”
Most people know about the physical benefits of exercise, but the mental and emotional benefits are sometimes overlooked, they said. Exercise improves mood by releasing endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Christelle notes that since Delray Beach has become ground zero for a lot of people in recovery, “a gym could really help them.”
“And other low-income people who can’t afford a gym membership,” Talia said.
“Through this project, we’ve grown a stronger sense of community,” Christelle said, “and an appreciation for the people who get things done.
“We want to get people out of the house into the park. It has a lot of potential. We’re planning a renovation day to get the community out there to fix it up.
“We’ve been Facebooking, but we also made fliers. And we’ll talk to anyone who will listen.”
Neither Christelle nor Talia is a resident of Delray Beach. Christelle is from Boca Raton and Talia is from Boynton Beach.
“If things go well, we’ll be breaking ground by spring,” Christelle said.
Check out their page at www.gofundme.com/BarwickWorkoutPark. For more information, email Talia.Vessal@gmail.com.
“We need sponsors,” Christelle said, “but any donation is greatly appreciated.”