Outdoor Fitness & Walking Trail

In May 2017 our Board and Staff, along with members started thinking about what we could do with the 7 acres behind our building. After several months and many meetings, it was determined that we would expand our existing parking lot and add an outdoor fitness center, a walking trail with gardens and a space for future outdoor activities. Our Board approved the funding of the parking lot through our general building fund and fundraising. It was determined that the rest of the plan would only be done through fundraising or grants.
We were very fortunate when Robert and Betty Kohn agreed to fund the entire fitness center, which then became the Betty Kohn Outdoor Fitness Zone. This wonderful addition consists of 12 unique exercise stations that can be used by 24 people at one time. This equipment is also accessible to wheelchairs. We held our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in November 2018 and will be forever grateful to the Kohn’s.

A walking trail with gardens was a vision of our Board President, Priscilla Upton Byrns when we started looking at options for the property behind our building in 2017. Priscilla’s passion of gardening, flowers and the outdoors made this a project she would have loved to have seen become a reality. We know that she is smiling now as she looks down upon us and is so pleased that her dream has come true.
It all started with a $10K donation from Lakeland Health Foundations in June 2018, followed by some very generous donations from Priscilla’s children and matching funds from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation.
In December of 2018 a $50K grant was received from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation which had a $25K challenge grant attached to it, which the Foundation would match if we could raise $25K. We were able to surpass the Challenge Grant through many fundraisers and generous donations from our members that purchased picnic tables, benches and landscaping for the 1/6 mile walking trail. We have over $142K designated for this project. The Walking Trail was completed in late September 2019 and our volunteers did some major landscaping before winter came. We are planning on enhancing the gardens in the spring of 2020.

The addition of these two projects have transformed our backyard into a great resource for our entire community and became possible solely on grants, generous donations from our members and assistance from Rabbers Property Management, Rolling Prairie Excavating, Andrews University Architectural Department and Abonmarche Consultants. Of course none of this would have happened without all of our hard working volunteers who have put in countless hours designing, planting and maintaining these additions to our Center. We thank everyone who has contributed to this venture which will surely be enjoyed by our community for many years.