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Fitness Fee in Public Park Sparks Debate

Posted Jun 12 2008 8:02am

Fitness Fee in Public Park Sparks DebateIf you were a fitness instructor, would you be willing to pay a $500 fee to teach your class in public parks? Could you even afford it? A new proposed fitness fee in Austin, TX does just that.

The argument goes like this, vendors and others who run private establishments in public parks have to pay the fee, so why not fitness instructors? Since a fitness class is a private establishment, they should pay the fee as well. One the other hand…

…anything that gets people outside and exercising should be encouraged. What kind of example would Austin be setting for their youth? I know everything is bigger in Texas, but can’t their waistlines be the exception to the rule?

There is a solution for this conundrum. New York and Chicago have both established fitness programs in their public parks. Chicago has even enlisted the help of corporate partners who, when all is said and done, will actually help improve Millennium Park. Remember, the goal is to get people to enjoy the parks and workout and to keep these public spaces well maintained for its denizens. Once the city is involved, it’s much easier to attract people and sponsors.

Austin and other cities may find it worth the effort to develop programs that brings together the instructors, city government and public parks. This is the real win-win-win!

Written by: Gregory Schnese

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