Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and the City of Grand Rapids this week will deploy six outdoor fitness stations along the Grand River trail in the Monroe North neighborhood, specifically in Canal and Sixth Street Parks.

The new equipment - available for the public to use at no cost - comes in response to the City’s 2017 Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which found a high level of community interest in both low-cost activities along the riverfront and outdoor exercise equipment that supports healthy lifestyles for people.

The new exercise stations are also located in the vicinity of the historic Belknap Stairs, a steep concrete staircase at Fairbanks Street and Division Ave that has emerged in recent years as a highly popular exercise facility for Grand Rapidians.

“People love to run along the Grand River and they’ve also discovered the elevation changes of Belknap Hill and Michigan Street offer a wonderful and free health and exercise amenity,” said DGRI Project Manager Stephanie Wong. “These new exercise stations will complement these advantages and further encourage active outdoor fitness - all with a view of the Grand River.”

The fitness stations will feature Norwell Outdoor Fitness equipment made of powder coated steel - which minimizes both vandalism and the need for maintenance. The modern and sleek Danish designs will include instructions for proper use of each machine and people will have access to the Norwell App to track their training progress.

Norwell’s Outdoor Fitness Equipment in a Park in British Columbia
Norwell’s Outdoor Fitness Equipment in a Park in British Columbia

Six fitness stations with a total of ten pieces of exercise equipment will be permanently installed on concrete pads along the linear park trail. The equipment will include:

  • Cross Elliptical
  • Air Walkers
  • Hand Cycler
  • Leg and Bench Press
  • Pull Up and Bench
  • Chest Press

Drinking fountains and signage will also be provided at the beginning and end of the trail.


Fitness equipment selection criteria were based upon several key factors, including:

  • Four-season durability
  • A mix of strength training and endurance
  • Flexibility related to installation, site selection, and maintenance
  • Modern/sleek style

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority - both managed by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. - funded the purchase of the equipment and the City of Grand Rapids funded and leads the site preparation and installation work.

“We are grateful for our continued partnership with DGRI,” said Karie Enriquez, Project Manager for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. “This new exercise equipment in Canal and Sixth Street parks supports the exciting and important improvements in Downtown that enhance public outdoor spaces for city residents and visitors. The equipment is both beautiful to look at and fun for all ages, with a focus on cardiovascular health and balance, strength and flexibility.”

The new fitness stations will be installed and ready for use in early May 2019.

Construction of the Outdoor Exercise Stations in the Monroe North Neighborhood
Construction of the Outdoor Exercise Stations in the Monroe North Neighborhood