Groundbreaking for AARP-sponsored fitness park in Manchester

AARP and Manchester officials at the groundbreaking of the new AARP-sponsored fitness park. Pictured from left are Don Pinard, Manchester Parks & Recreation chief; Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig; Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart; and Kelly Clark, AARP regional vice president.

MANCHESTER — Digging shiny silver shovels into newly tilled dirt, officials broke ground Tuesday at Derryfield Park on the state’s only AARP-sponsored fitness area.

“This is truly a great example of a public-private partnership that will impact the health and wellness of people for years to come,” Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig told a crowd of about 100 people who turned out.

To celebrate AARP’s 60th anniversary, the organization has vowed to install a fitness court in every state. The Queen City was selected as the New Hampshire community to receive one.

Craig said she was “thrilled” Manchester was selected for the honor.

The AARP project will include FitLot excercise equipment, a rubberized safety surface and other amenities such as benches, a shade structure and trash receptacles.

Rain delayed completion of the project, which is expected to be up and running by the end of the month, according to Kelly Clark, AARP regional vice president.

Last year, Manchester Connects received one of only 129 AARP Community Challenge grants to create a riverside gathering space with tables and planters in Manchester’s Arms Park. The site connects to walking and bike pathways.