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MADISON — An outdoor fitness park project is in motion for the Madison area and could see a groundbreaking as early as the summer of 2022.

Resident Nick Dolan presented his plan, which would be supported through grant funding, during a Boone County Commission meeting on Dec. 28.

The Marshall University medical student is spearheading the project himself and only needed a letter of support from the commission to take the next step in the application process.

Dolan is a member of Marshall University’s Men’s Health Organization, which looks for projects like this in the community — and he said Boone County fits that bill.

“I’ve had this idea for an outdoor fitness center,” Dolan said. “I saw one in Charlotte right in the heart of the city and a ton of people used it. So, I started getting quotes for it and I’m in the early stages of it.”

He added, “I think we generally know why it is needed with a lack of recreational activity, obesity, diabetes and several other chronic diseases with high substance abuse rates in the area and a need for activity for all age groups.”

The hydraulic exercise equipment is designed for ages 16 to 65.

Dolan has reached out to the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health regarding the potential for additional funding for the project.

“Why I’m here is, I need help — because I’m only 23,” he said with a laugh. “I need help with getting a location.”

Dolan said he had scoped out Madison City Park and four different locations in downtown Madison as potential plots for the 1,500-square-foot concrete pad needed for the equipment.

Commissioners told Dolan he would need to attend a City of Madison council meeting and offer his presentation to Mayor Buddy Hudson and council members.

Dolan had secured a graphic designer to construct digital plans and mapping for the project, which he shared with commissioners.

The park will feature stations designed for each muscle group, including chest press, shoulder press and tricep push-downs, among others.

“What you (as a commission) can do to help is to help me find the property and committing to the continued maintenance after the project,” he said.

Dolan said liability insurance for the park would need to be included under the umbrella of the county’s policy for its other properties.

“I understand that some of this will be town-level stuff, but I just wanted it to be known,” he said. “Mayor Mark McClure of the Town of Danville has already written me a letter of support. He was the first one to come in.”

Dolan said he will write 10-year maintenance costs into the project’s budget.

“You’re 23 years old and already thinking outside the box, and that is what we’ve got to have,” said Commission President Craig Bratcher. “We need people like you pushing for good things, and we appreciate you and all of your efforts to make this project happen.”

The Boone County Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m., the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Annex, third floor. Call 304-369-7303.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at 304-307-2401.

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