Commemorates association’s 60th anniversary
AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel recently opened an AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park in Buffalo’s Horace “Billy” Johnson Park – the fifth such park to open in the U.S., and the only one planned in New York.
Over the next several years, AARP plans to sponsor a fitness park in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to commemorate the association’s 60th anniversary.
AARP is working with FitLot, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping communities find the resources they need to plan, build and program outdoor fitness parks, to construct over a dozen parks in 2019. Each park will include FitLot exercise equipment that can be adapted to meet a wide range of fitness levels and abilities.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to open this outdoor fitness park, right here in Buffalo,” Finkel said before joining Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and other officials to cut the ribbon. “This is a space to play and stay healthy, free to the public, including our members. It’s my sincere hope that this park will get good use and bring together Buffalo in a new, healthy way for years to come.
“These outdoor fitness parks represent AARP’s commitment to supporting health and wellness and livable communities all across our country.”
Erie County’s population is aging; the number of residents 65 and over jumped by 19% from 2007-17, while the county’s under-65 population declined by 2%, according to a 2019 AARP-commissioned study by the Center for an Urban Future.
In addition to Finkel and Brown, the AARP opening ceremony included Andy Rabb, Buffalo’s deputy commission for Parks and Recreation; Adam Mejerson, founder and executive director of FitLot; Ann Monroe, Western New York representative on AARP New York’s volunteer Executive Council; and about members of AARP and the community.
“I thank AARP for selecting Buffalo for the first AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park in New York state,” Brown said. “I am proud to lead an administration that prioritizes the health and wellness of our cherished senior residents. As an age-friendly city, the City of Buffalo values successful relationships with stellar organizations like AARP to ensure we are building a ‘City of Opportunity’ for all residents, including members of our older population.”