Lima celebrates as it unveils fitness court

LIMA — Mayor Sharetta Smith called Lima blessed as she cut the ribbon at the city’s new fitness court along the Ottawa River bikeway.

Groups of Lima police officers, firefighters and fitness trainers showed up Thursday, along with city officials and active residents to celebrate the occasion.

“Our community has a fantastic network of parks and bikeways,” Smith said. “But we continue to struggle with maintaining health. But we’ve started to find solutions, strengthen our health and leverage these features by creating partnerships with the National Fitness Campaign to install this outdoor gym with all abilities in mind.”

The fitness court, which features seven stations that allow users to get a complete workout using body weight, cost a total of $90,000, but the city received a $30,000 grant to fund the installation from the 2023 Healthy Cities Campaign.

Smith said the funding for the remaining $60,000 cost of the court came from Better Together money, which came from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan. The court sits behind the Lima Family YMCA across the river between Elizabeth and Main streets.

“The National Fitness Campaign is one of the country’s largest public-private partnership opportunities, and we’re very proud to be a part of that organization,” said Ric Stolly, deputy public works director for the city. “Mayor Smith learned about the campaign from the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance last year and applied for the grant. This facility is a wonderful example of public and private sectors partnering together to break down barriers that get in the way when you’re trying to improve the quality of life for the community.”

Lima resident Tammy Johnson said she is already planning to bring her grandsons to the court. She said she expects neighbors to take advantage of the amenity whether they are active or just getting interested in fitness.

And she thinks it means more than just staying healthy.

“This is about being close in the community and getting to know each other,” Johnson said. “That’s how I made some of my friends. When I retired I started a drum class with them, and now we’re all friends who walk in the morning together.”

Tesha Banks, who teaches that drum class at Bradfield Community Center, led a competition between a Lima firefighter and police officer to demonstrate the court and shared information on classes beginning June 3.

Smith said the city wants the park to be accessible to everyone and that it can help Lima residents live longer.

“Healthy people make a healthy community,” she said. “This court is just one more thing that we can be proud of in our community, and we encourage everyone to walk, jog and cycle on it to spend a little bit more time outside building a healthy lifestyle.”

For more information on the court, to sign up for the free classes or to download the free fitness court app, visit

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.