Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz, Mayor Ron Rakowsky and PTR chair Brent Neiser cut the ribbon. PTR commissioners Kevin Kopp and Margaret Griffes looked on.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
We can look around and see that people are living longer and the data supports that observation. A United Nations report predicts that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 and older by the year 2050. The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that the average life expectancy for a person born in 2012 is 79 years. The CDC also says that anyone reaching their 65th birthday today can expect to live to age 85. One reason is the decrease in the number of people dying from well-recognized health conditions. Between 1975 and 2015, age-adjusted deaths from heart disease decreased 61 percent. Age-adjusted deaths due to cancer declined 21 percent in the same time frame.
Maintaining good health is crucial to seniors’ quality of life. As we age, mental and physical activity are key. Greenwood Village’s Curtis Arts Center (Curtis), located at Orchard Road and University Boulevard, offers free activities for seniors, from stretching and toning classes to dancing and learning to play the harmonica, in addition to dozens of reasonably-priced art classes in all genres, further discounted for seniors.
Three years ago, a Greenwood Village resident suggested that the city acquire exercise equipment geared to senior citizens that could be placed in a park. The city’s Parks, Trails and Recreation Commission agreed and took the idea and ran with it. A steering committee was appointed to identify the best equipment to buy and an application was made to Arapahoe County for a grant from the county’s 0.25 percent sales and use tax that is dedicated to open space projects. The steering committee spent a year determining what types of exercise machines would be most effective and investigating availability before settling on six pieces from three different sources that met their criteria. They selected individual pieces of equipment that would: improve core strength, be heart-healthy and increase lung capacity, improve balance and flexibility, strengthen muscle groups, improve bone density, provide social interaction, or be usable to those with disabilities. They settled on a twister, an adjustable leg press, an air walker, a rowing machine, an incumbent bike and a two-person accessible lat pulldown. The total cost of the project is $70,000. Arapahoe County approved the city’s grant request for 50 percent of that amount and Greenwood Village provided the balance.
It was decided to locate the new exercise equipment just outside Curtis because it is staffed six days a week, has accessible restrooms and plenty of parking, including handicapped-designated spaces.
The ribbon-cutting for the new facility was held May 30, the 25th anniversary of National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Greenwood Village provided breakfast and live music from the Rootin Tootin Dixieland Band. Excited seniors from the area came to see and try out the new machines. Alyce is 93 and a resident of a nearby assisted living and memory care facility, who had not ventured out in the 10 months she’s lived there, until this event. A retired U.S. Air Force officer and CPA, she told us that she was glad she came out and that she loves reading The Villager. Roundtree resident Catherine Lobue, 91, did the circuit. Her daughter-in-law told us that Catherine cooks, buys fresh fruit every few days, walks her dog and still paints her own walls. Dee Fornaro, a Holly Creek resident, tried out all the machines. Richard Keller, 90, a championship swimmer and GV resident told us that being active is the key to long life.
GV Mayor Ron Rakowsky came to cut the ribbon, along with Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz who was on hand from the city council. The Parks, Trails and Recreation (PTR) Commission was well represented by Chair Brent Neiser and members Kevin Kopp and Len Goldstein from GV district one and Margaret Griffes from district two. Nancy Kopp, GV resident and senior living expert, along with Nikki Crouse and Lindsay Flechtner, represented the hardworking steering committee. Also on hand, was GV resident Julie Hill, state chair of advocacy for the American Heart Association.
Catherine Lobue, 91, of Roundtree worked the lat pulldown.
Ned, 87, and Alyce, 93, along with a helper from their assisted-living facility, loved the live Dixieland band.
GV residents Nancy and Kevin Kopp are active and dedicated community residents. Nancy is a tireless advocate for senior citizens.
Shannon Carter is intergovernmental relations director for Arapahoe County Open Spaces, which helped fund the new equipment. Photos by Freda Miklin
PTR Commissioner Margaret Griffes gave the air walker a spin.
Holly Creek resident Dee Fornaro tried out the twister.
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