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Sherri Keaton, Published July 03 2010

Equipment added to trail

Fargo Park District testing machinery loaned by Dakota Fence Co.

Cameron Bauder gripped the royal-blue cardio-stepper’s handles, pressing each foot into the black grooves and moving to the soft “whoosh” sound of each step.

“It was fun,” Bauder said of the machine. “I liked the stair-stepper. Because it challenged me, I wanted to keep going.”

The 11-year-old didn’t need a gym membership to work out. He and his dad just rode to a south Fargo neighborhood park to get their exercise.

Workout buffs looking for a place to sweat can go to a playground along the Old Milwaukee Bike Trail on the corner of 17th Street and 36½ Avenue South, where six exercise machines are showcased.

Cameron and his father, Mike Bauder, both of Fargo, enjoyed the exercise equipment for the first time Friday afternoon.

“We didn’t even know about it until now,” Mike Bauder said. “I was surprised; I didn’t know what to think at first. It kind of breaks up the monotony of a routine, and it would probably be more exciting to people.”

The south Fargo site is the only park in Fargo that has the public exercise equipment.

“We have a park by us, and it would nice if we had something like this,” Bauder said.

Dakota Fence Co. of Fargo loaned the equipment to the Fargo Park District two weeks ago after approaching the district. Both see it as an opportunity to test the machines.

“We're excited to see how folks like it,” said Dakota Fence official Mike Dunn.

The district’s goal is for the public to have more options when they use parks, and this equipment is a motivator for people to go outdoors and stay in shape, said Park District official Dave Leker.

“We try to provide everything for kids and adults to enjoy the outdoors, whether it is playground equipment (or) recreational activities trails.” he said.

The six pieces will cost an estimated $15,000 if the district decides to buy them, Leker said.

Machine stations at the south Fargo site include a chest/back press, squat press, cardio-stepper, ab crunch/leg lift, pull- up/dip and assisted row/push station.

They are the most recognizable pieces of fitness equipment people would be comfortable trying, said Carolyn Boutain, the district’s director of cultural activities.

California native Angie Pereira is visiting Fargo. While walking on the bike trail, she said the machines are really impressive.

“I think it is a fabulous thing for the community, along with this great walking path,” Pereira said. “Where we live we don’t have too many public walkways or recreational activities, so the machines would be a fabulous addition.”

Leker said the district wants feedback.

“If we got a huge amount of input saying people like it, we would put (more equipment) somewhere else.” He said officials don’t have other locations in mind yet.

Dakota Fence is also looking for input.

“If folks would love to give us feedback, we encourage them to either e-mail or call so we can find out what they like about the equipment or what else they would like,” Dunn said.

The Park District will use public comments to help determine the best location for exercise equipment, whether at a school park, playground or trail, Boutain said.

The district is looking to purchase the equipment sometime next year, she said.

“The public wants a new experience when exercising,” Boutain said, “especially outside in the sunshine.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Keaton at (701) 235-7311