NEW BUFFALO — A “major collaborative effort with the Rotary Club and nine other organizations” that yielded a seven-station outdoor adult exercise equipment facility at New Buffalo Township’s Memorial Park was celebrated on Friday, Aug. 30.

“This project started about 18 months ago ... I started looking for grants to support it,” said Rotary Club of Harbor Country President David Stevenson, adding that he worked with New Buffalo Township (which got two of the grants — one from The Pokagon Fund and another from the William J. Deputy Foundation).

He said the Rotary Club got a grant from Berrien For Good from the Berrien Community Foundation and a Frederick S Upton grant while Spectrum Health also contributed to the project.

“Jackie Shen, a dynamo who has Jackie’s Cafe, did a fudge sale for us around Thanksgiving and sold around $7,500 worth of fudge,. And then the Larry Bubb Foundation, Hillary Bubb is here, matched that $7,500, and then her friend Nora Duffy stepped up and contributed $10,000 to the project.”

Stevenson said the Ozinga Foundation also has been “a real partner with the Rotary Club on doing various projects. This is the fourth project we worked with the Ozinga Foundation. They contributed 23 cubic yards of concrete to make the pad.”

“I’m just thrilled to see the collaboration with the community to make this happen,” said Berrien Community Foundation Program Manager Susan Matheny (the Foundation is administrator for its own grants as well as those from the William J. Deputy Foundation and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation). “It’s a wonderful blend of getting people outside, making it accessible to everyone in the community and it’s in a beautiful space.”

Among those in attendance recognized by Stevenson was acting Pokagon Fund Executive Director John Krsul.

“Everyone knows how many great contributions The Pokagon Fund makes to our community,” Stevenson noted.

Chad Butler of Lakeshore Construction and a crew including Ryan Butler, Matt Helms and volunteers from the Rotary Club and township installed the all-season Greenfields Fitness resistance training equipment on June 27, with each station bolted down onto a concrete pad with half-inch anchors.

“We see quite a few people using it already,” said New Buffalo Township Supervisor Michelle Heit.

Township Parks Director Patrick Donnelly added, “We’ve been seeing families from little kids up to grandparents working out together.”

Katie Maroney and Jordan McGuire of Equilibrium Fitness provided tips and demonstrations for those in attendance Aug. 30 on properly using the green and beige machines (which utilize the exerciser’s body weight during the workout).

“You can go in a complete circuit or if you want to just concentrate on upper-body movements that’s predominately on this side over here,” Maroney said, pointing out the machines dedicated for that purpose. “All the way in the far corner there you have a leg press. That one’s fun, I’ve noticed a lot of kids come over and play on it.”

Stevenson noted that there is a QR code on each machine that links to an instructional video.

He said the club actually raised more money than the $48,000 exercise equipment project cost.

“The money in excess of $48,000 we put into a fund dedicated to helping seniors in Harbor Country. We’ve already done some projects at the River Valley Senior Center with those funds.”

Hillary Bubb said Jackie Shen, Nora Duffy and herself are looking for projects to support (a “fudge-raiser” for ongoing renovations at the River Valley Senior Center is set for Thanksgiving to Christmas). They work with non-profits, preferably that benefit senior citizens (in their fifth year).

“This year we’re looking for a project that would help both seniors and senior dogs.”

Contact Shen at Jackie’s Cafe (269-469-1800) for more information.

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