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Escondido residents can now go to court – for fitness


Recently unveiled at Mountain View Park is a gleaming new “Fitness Court” – an installation developed by the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) in partnership with the city — and the first of several planned for Escondido.

Featuring a circuit training system, the Fitness Court is an outdoor gym providing a full-body workout for people of all abilities, NFC says. Trent Matthias, executive director of NFC’s National Fitness Campaign, describes the courts as providing the “healthy infrastructure” for a free workout opportunity.

Matthias said that NFC holds an annual competition in which cities submit applications to be named a “Model City” for placement of the courts. Escondido and Santa Anna were the two California cities selected from about 50 applicants nationwide. Santa Anna, he said will eventually have at least 10 of the courts, Escondido likely up to five.

Matthias described as Escondido’s application and following cooperation with the city’s recreation staff, headed by Joanna Axelrod, director of communications & community services for the city, as “incredibly well done.” 

And Axelrod said that following contact with the NFC “I knew right away that this would be a perfect partnership. They realized that they wanted not only to help us fund one Fitness Court but believed we had the leadership, support, and infrastructure to be a Model City in the state and are helping us fund five.”

Matthias said that NFC has established these courts in more than 75 cities and colleges across the country and by the end of 2020, “will be thriving in more than 400 communities in 40 states.”

The Escondido city council last year approved $400,000 in Park Development funds to purchase the Fitness Court equipment and the structures providing shade. Axelrod said that in December the council will be asked to approve a combination of Community Development Block Grant funds and Park Development funds to construct the additional courts. 

She said that residents responded to a survey asking them to rank nine different locations for the courts. Based on that feedback the next two will be located on the campus of the Escondido Public Library and at Kit Carson Park. “We are confident that these will be open by spring of 2021.” 

“Our goal,” she said, “is to spread these fitness courts around the community to provide as much access as possible.” 

The city is also looking for Fitness Court Ambassadors who will offer free workout classes, challenges and workshops to residents using the courts. Ambassadors will be leading the first one on Friday, December 4, 9 a.m.– 9:45 a.m. at Mountain View Park (160 South Citrus Ave.).

 “We are always seeking contributions and support from organizations that believe in helping their community improve their health and quality of life by bringing this type of free, healthy recreational asset to the community,” Axelrod said.

Organizations interested in providing this support can contact Axelrod at: jadxelrod@escondido.org. 

For more information about the Fitness Courts and the ambassador program: recreation.escondido.org/fitness-court-1.aspx.

City of Escondido Contact
Joanna Axelrod – jaxelrod@escondido.org

National Fitness Court Contact
Cree Larson – cree@nfchq.com – 415-702-4919

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