LA MARQUE — The last time Bertha Pistone, 90, and Zady Jones, 84, hopped on playground equipment Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and teeter-totters and swing sets were about all there were to have fun in the park.
They and the other 200 members of the county’s seniors program will now get to goof off all they wanted on equipment designed to be fun, as well as help them stay fit. While playgrounds for the elderly are popular in Asia and Europe and can be found in other parts of the United States, county officials said this playground is first of its kind in Texas.
The county is set to debut the senior playground at Carbide Park today.
With fitness steps, a balance stool, low chin- up bars and knobs to aid in dexterity, the Motion Wellness System playground is designed to be used to train the elderly on balance and coordination. County officials see it as a way to aid the elderly to encourage independent living and as a fall prevention tool.
“We hope to open it up for our (three) centers’ program activities,” said Galveston County Parks Department Programs Manager Jennifer Krupa. “We also hope to let other senior programs in the area and partner with other organizations to use the playground.”
The county spent $36,000 for Wyoming-based Xccent Fitness to install the system, Krupa said.
County Commissioner Stephen Holmes said it was county Park’s and Senior Services Director Julie Diaz who came up with the idea for the playground.
“I didn’t even know such a playground existed,” Holmes said. “She pitched the idea (four months ago) and we had a location in Carbide Park where a playground needed to be replaced, and we already have the senior program there so it was a good fit.”
Holmes said he hopes the playground will be used by county residents as well as “people just passing through.”
In addition to the fitness and balance benefit of the playground, Holmes sees another benefit.
“Hopefully, it will become just as you see with kids on the playground, that it creats a social aspect as well,” he said.
At a glance
WHAT: Senior playground opening
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. today
WHERE: Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street in La Marque
WHAT DOES IT HAVE: Fitness steps, knobs and bolts, fitness ramp, gangway, cobweb floor, stretching board, zig zag pipe, seated bar grab, throttle bar, high chin up bars, snake pipe, low chin-up bars, wavy balance beam, balance stool and bar.