Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's the City's Fitness Trail New Exercise Stations at Mandarin High Open to All

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's the City's Fitness Trail New Exercise Stations at Mandarin High Open to All

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Mandarin's newest city recreation facility opened Monday at Mandarin High School, but it isn't for the faint of heart.

Ten physical fitness stations ranging from pull-up bars to a pair of vertical climbing poles circle the lake in front of the sprawling high school at 4831 Greenland Road. The fitness stations are connected to each other by a cushioned running trail.

Originally envisioned as an obstacle course for the school's large NJROTC program, it was transformed into a fitness trail that could be used by students and the public alike when City Councilwoman Mary Ann Southwell was able to secure $23,000 in city recreation funds to build it.

Now the trail is open to anyone who wants to run, jump and exercise. But they may have to compete with 135 school Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets like Seaman Apprentice Gina Jacobbi, who said she will be training on it, as well as her brother, an NJROTC alumnus attending the U.S. Naval Academy.

"We are looking forward to using it, and it is a shame my brother couldn't be here to experience it, but he will be down next week," she said.

Thomas Kwasniewski said he also will be there soon, when he's not taking part in the Jacksonville University ROTC program. He was one of the school's NJROTC cadets who came up with the obstacle course idea years ago, then helped lay out the fitness course last year.

"This was the only spot around the school that we got approved," said Kwasniewski. "I am really proud it actually went through. It looks really good, and I am proud to say I helped create this."

"I can't wait to get on it," added alumnus and fellow JUROTC cadet Trey Tomlinson.

The idea for a military-style obstacle course for the cadets was suggested four years ago, and was to have been designed and built by them, said program Captain Bill Bowers. But city and Duval County school regulations regarding an obstacle course accessible to the public scuttled that idea. …

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