More than 100 people use the Potomac Community Center gym, the busiest room of the facility, every day.
When the pandemic kept the community center closed, Allan Cohen thought about them, as well as people of all ages and abilities throughout Potomac, who couldn’t use the facility.
Cohen, of Friends of the Potomac Community Center, remembers the next Election Day when he and District 15 Del. Linda K. Foley had a conversation.
“Del. Foley and I stood out at the polls and were talking about what we needed here,” Cohen said. “We thought about needing an outdoor park.”
On Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, at a ribbon cutting ceremony, Cohen introduced the Potomac Community Center’s new Outdoor Fitness Park.
“Something like this offers us the chance to be outside and focus on fitness,” said Pam Yerg, member of the Friends of the Potomac Community Center. “For those who know Allan, when he talks about something you know it’s going to happen,” she said. “There are all kinds of options and possibilities that we will be exploring for programming,” from Tai Chi, Zumba, Yoga and other classes, Yerg said. “The Friends of the Potomac Community Center really tries to focus on the health and wellbeing of our community.”
More than 189 exercises can be performed at 47 different outdoor workout stations at the outdoor fitness park, including strength, cardio and balance training.
“It’s a pleasure to see a project come to completion,” said Cohen.
“It’s another exciting day in Potomac,” said Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, former director of Montgomery County Department of Recreation.
Albornoz and others hope the outdoor fitness park will be replicated across Montgomery County. “This facility is going to expand on health and wellness opportunities and should serve as a model for all our community recreation facilities across the county. All of them should have a similar amenity,” said Albornoz.
THE RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY included the entire District 15 delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, and each thanked Del. Linda Foley for her leadership on this project.
“Linda Foley got this whole project going,” said Sen. Brian J. Feldman.
The Outdoor Fitness Park was made possible through capital funds from the state of Maryland and fundraising by the Friends of the Potomac Community Center, including donations from community members.
“One of the best things we’re able to do is go to Annapolis and bring capital dollars home,” said Feldman. “Linda [Foley] brought it to my attention and literally on day 90 [of the Maryland General Assembly] we were able to find $200,000 to deploy to this very worthwhile project.”
When Lake Normandy Elementary School closed because of declining enrollment, it almost became a storage facility for Montgomery County Public Schools, Albornoz reminded the hundred who attended the ceremony. Allan Cohen and others advocated and “demanded that this be a community amenity.” It opened as one of the busiest community centers and 34 years later, it continues as one of Montgomery County’s busiest community centers.
“Allan Cohen has been here every step of the way,” said Albornoz.
Councilmember Andrew Friedson grew up near the community center. He played his first little league game in the fields behind the building, his first basketball game in the gymnasium and had his first slow dance at Club Friday, he said.
“This isn’t a recreation center, this is my rec center,” said Friedson.
The outdoor fitness park can be used by people of all ages and abilities, he said. “This is an exciting project.”
People using the equipment can access virtual trainers via an app, although the equipment works with or without the app. Download KOMPAN’s Outdoor Fitness app either through Google or Apple. The app will demonstrate how to use the machines and exercise stations and offer instructions on how to use the equipment. Signs explaining the equipment are also on display at the fitness park.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was held as rains from Tropical Storm Ophelia were winding down. Cohen said all equipment was built in Europe to withstand the outdoor elements as well as continuous, every day, every hour use. Rain did not stop the celebration. A canopy covers a good portion of the equipment.
“We hope everyone comes out and uses it and enjoys it, and stays well and healthy,” said Robin Riley, director of the County’s Recreation Department.
“This offers us a chance to be outside and focus on fitness,” said Pam Yerg. “It’s sort of a build-it-and-they-will-come situation.”
“I can’t wait to get on the equipment,” said Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo.
PCC Tai Chi Group
PCC Table Tennis Club
Potomac Soccer Association
National Convenience Distributors; Century Distributors
Colony Grill, Cabin John
Mitch and Bill’s Exxon
Friends of the Potomac Community Center are still raising funds to complete Community Health and Wellness Initiatives which includes the Outdoor Fitness Park and the fitness room expansion. Write Health and Wellness Initiatives on memo line.
Make checks payable to Friends of the PCC, mail or drop off to 11315 Falls Road, Potomac, Md. 20854