A new outdoor fitness park sponsored by AARP officially opened Wednesday in Buffalo’s Hamlin Park neighborhood.
AARP plans to sponsor a fitness park in every state and territory over the next few years to commemorate their 60th anniversary. Horace "Billy" Johnson Park becomes the fifth park AARP has sponsored so far and is the only one planned for New York.
AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said they chose the location due to Erie County’s aging population and its accessibility for all ages.
“We got the school right across the street. You got the girls and boys club right up the block. It’s centrally located for folks. It’s easy access. And that’s what we want,” Finkel said. “We want people to be able to use this every day. Obviously we know fitness is not a once a month or once a year. It’s a every single day.”
The number of residents 65 and over in Erie County has jumped up by 19 percent from 2007 to 2017 according to 2019 AARP-commissioned study.
“It was great that we could get Buffalo moving very quickly, but it’s no surpirise, because Buffalo has been an example of being a livable community and an age friendly community,” Finkel said.
Mayor Byron Brown said in addition to the equipment, AARP has told him trainers will be available to community members.
“There will be a trainer here every week for three years, showing us how to use the apparatus properly,” Brown said.