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‘Minor’ Issues Remain At Fitness Center 

Kids play on the machines at the Elwood Park Outdoor Fitness Center on Tuesday.

Ruth Albright was looking forward to working out on the elliptical machine at the Elwood Park Outdoor Fitness Center on Tuesday, but two things interrupted her workout.

For one, the machine she wanted to use was fenced off. Secondly, a handful of children were playing on the remaining machines, which was surprising to her given that just a few weeks ago a child was severely injured while playing on the elliptical.

On Oct. 20, a child severely injured their finger while playing on the elliptical. The child was brought to a hospital for medical care, and the entire fitness center – which includes five different machines – was closed off due to a town investigation.

Currently, just the elliptical is fenced off, while the remainder of the fitness area remains open.

Albright, who works at Manor Plains High School in Huntington, said she was disappointed to see that the elliptical was fenced off. In addition to working at the school, she is a personal trainer and fitness advocate, and she was planning on using the machine during her workout.

Not only was the elliptical barricaded, but her workout was also interrupted by a handful of children who were playing on the machines.

“Parents are not monitoring their kids,” Albright said. “And so people who come here and want to work out can’t because the kids are playing on the equipment.”

Signs around the fitness center warn users that the machines are not meant for children under 13, yet on Tuesday at a little after 1:30 p.m., some young children could be seen playing on the equipment without a guardian within 15 feet of the workout area.

Two of the eight children in the fitness center were using the equipment to work out under the supervision of their grandmother, longtime resident Josephine Coleman.

She had high praise for the machines as she watched her grandchildren – one 14 years old, and one younger than the suggested age – use the equipment for its intended purpose.

“I think these are great. We should have more of these around,” she said. “We didn’t even know this was here, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

Albright had similar praise for the center, which opened in mid-October.

“I run here from work and I work out,” Albright said. “I love it. I want to get more of these on Long Island.”

However, both Albright and Coleman said that it was unclear to them to whom the children belonged and how they could stop them from playing in the fitness area.

“You really can’t tell these kids not to be here because you’re not in charge,” Coleman said.

Town officials did not return requests for comment.

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