ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today officially introduced the County’s first Age-Friendly Fitness Lot at Centennial Park North in Ellicott City. Ball was joined by Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS) Director Jackie Scott, Office on Aging and Independence (OAI) Administrator Ofelia Ross Ott, and Department of Recreation & Parks Director Nick Mooneyhan. Photos of the event can be seen here.

Today, we celebrate one of the tangible aspects of an age-friendly community with the opening of an inclusive and accessible fitness lot in the outdoors. This new equipment at Centennial Park invites teens and adults to use it to improve their health and physical fitness, meet new people, bring along friends and neighbors and enjoy the outdoors. We know that the best community is an age-friendly community. Through the efforts we’re making today, we’re ensuring that everyone of all ages and abilities can live their best lives and stay healthy!

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The cushioned-surface fitness lot holds 10 pieces of equipment and exercise diagrams and can accommodate up to 20 people at a time. It is designed for those aged 13 and older. All the machines are accessible, so people who use wheelchairs can transfer to the benches for many of the exercises or remain in their wheelchair to use other machines. All equipment has directions attached for safe use. It is located at Centennial Park North, 9801 Annapolis Rd., Ellicott City 21042.

The opening of this Age-Friendly Fitness Lot is another tool in the toolbox for Howard County’s older adults as they explore ways to remain active, healthy and connected in their community. We hope this lot offers the option to exercise outside as an adjunct to those already involved in indoor classes or programs, and a new place to get involved in a healthy lifestyle.

Ofelia Ross Ott
Administrator, OAI

In 2019, Ball launched the Age-Friendly Initiative, joining AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Howard County began working to implement AARP’s eight domains of livability, which include:

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. Transportation
  3. Housing
  4. Social participation
  5. Respect and social inclusion
  6. Civic participation and employment
  7. Communication and information
  8. Community support and health services

Howard County’s Action Plan includes 50 recommendations across the eight domains. As part of the Outdoor Spaces and Buildings domain, Howard County expanded a, now nationally recognized, bike lane connecting neighbors to Blandair Regional Park. 

“Today highlights the importance of welcoming everyone to county parks - no matter one’s age or ability,” said Director of Recreation & Parks Nick Mooneyhan. “At this north entrance alone, the tennis court replacement was completed yesterday, the sensory path and inclusive playground were completed last November, the adjacent bathroom now has accessible parking in front of it, and we are continuing to make more improvements.”

Terri Hansen, Manager, Age-Friendly Howard County, invited the crowd to test the new equipment with the assistance of Recreation and Parks and OAI fitness staff. “The Age-Friendly Fitness Lot is a visual example of what your neighbors on the Outdoor Spaces and Buildings work group came up with nearly four years ago. We have delivered a piece of the Age-Friendly plan that addresses affordable and available community and health services.”

Guided by the Age-Friendly Action Plan, the fitness lot crosses multiple domains of livability determined to help ensure residents of all ages can live in a safe and healthy community.

For more information on Age-Friendly Howard County and how to get involved, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/agefriendly.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications
Lisa Brusio Coster

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