Brewer leaders present new outside train gear for public use

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Brewery leaders want people to use public exercise machines that were installed in the city’s Veteran’s Park last fall and aren’t widely used.

They’re hoping warmer weather and an upcoming festival along the city’s popular Riverwalk will spark interest in the new gear.

The exercise machines were installed on the corner of State and Penobscot Streets near the Riverwalk last September. Up to 20 people can use the equipment at the same time, which includes a balancing rope, a bench, climbing bars, pull-up stations and a chain ladder.

Machias Savings Bank donated $35,000 to sponsor the project and Brewer approved $43,000 to purchase and install the equipment.

Although local personal trainers were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last September to show people how to use the equipment, Renee Doble, Brewer’s associate business development director, said interest in the park waned shortly thereafter.

Doble said the city is feeling a growing need for more outdoor activities as people are drawn to outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Installing the exercise equipment was a way to “encourage people to get out and exercise and maybe shop downtown, walk the Riverwalk or go to one of the restaurants,” Doble said.

No city government keeps track of how many people use it, Doble said, but the area is patrolled by police.

Doble said she thinks people have stayed away because they don’t know how to use it or just don’t know it’s there and available to the public.

“I know it was in the news last fall, but hopefully we can draw more attention to it at the Riverwalk Festival,” Doble said. “We hope that as the weather gets nicer and people see that other people are using it, it will generate more interest.”

Local personal trainers will be hosting performances at the fitness park during the city’s Riverwalk Festival on Saturday, June 4th. The celebration along the city’s Riverwalk — a mile-long paved path that follows the Penobscot River — also includes food trucks, children’s activities, a craft market, live performances and fireworks.

Brewer Economic Development Director D’Arcy Main-Boyington helps Brewer City Councilor Jerry Goss as he does side lunges under a bar at Veteran’s Park Fitness Center on Friday, September 17, 2021.

Though considered part of the city’s Riverwalk, the exercise park is separated from the main walkway by a residential building. That slight disconnect might partially explain why the equipment wasn’t heavily used, said Adam Clark, owner of Adam Clark Fitness in Brewer.

Clark said he and colleague Amy Curry have been bringing customers to the park and hope more people will use it as the weather warms up.

Videos showing how to use the fitness equipment for upper body, core, and lower body workouts are available on the city’s website. Users can also scan a nearby QR code reader with their smartphone for device instructions.

While adults have stayed away from the park since it opened, Doble said the city doesn’t want the park to attract many children because the busy street corner isn’t the safest place for them to play unsupervised.