Originally published July 29 in the Columbia Daily Herald.
By Mike Christen
Mt. Pleasant is turning its wheels as it celebrates the approval of a $31,150 grant to launch a spin class with the city’s parks and recreation department.
Mt. Pleasant Parks Director Thomas Kenney said the funds will go to purchasing 18 bikes, an audio visual system and marketing materials for the program.
The classes will be held at the Mt. Pleasant Community Center and offered at no charge to the public.
“Classes will be held for a variety of levels,” Kenney said.
The city’s school will also use the equipment for physical education during the day.
The city is currently in the process of selecting where in the community center classes will be held, before the acquisition of equipment will be carried out.
“This is really all about offering fitness opportunities to help our citizens live a healthy lifestyle,” Kenney said.
A study published in May of 2018 indicates Tennessee’s youth struggle with their personal fitness.
“It is something that we are not proud of, but we are going to attack it and we are going to fight it here in Mt. Pleasant,” Kenney said. “We are driving that home. It is something that we are going to attack and we are working with the schools on it.”
Joe Kilgore, executive director of the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation, awarded the grant to the city on Thursday.
The foundation works to expand health care services and community outreach programs throughout southern Middle Tennessee. The Foundation provides a range of services from funding a mobile health unit for community outreach to providing wigs to cancer patients.
Since 2006, the foundation has funded nearly $1.9 million in programs and services benefiting community members in need. These programs include medication assistance, a food bank, transportation assistance, educational support, community health initiatives and employee assistance.
Mt. Pleasant educators Natasha McFall, a middle school English teacher and Bronson Bradley, the high school’s football coach, lobbied for the program this summer.
“They helped us ultimately seal the deal,” said Ryan Jackson, Mt. Pleasant High School principal. “I cannot think of a better symbol of a city that is reviving. This is a evidence of a city beginning to thrive.”
He said access to the bikes and classes will allow students to live better, learn better and create a healthy, thriving community.
“Our purpose is to help involve the communities that we serve,” said Kilgore.
Kilgore said interest from the sale of Columbia’s former wellness and aquatics center, a total of $340,000, wento a permanent endowment of which the interest is now used to fund healthy living projects through the foundation.
He said a portion of that endowment combined with monies from the foundation’s general fund financed Mt. Pleasant’s spin project.
Indoor cycling, often called spinning, focuses on endurance, strength, high intensity and recovery using stationary bicycles. A typical class involves a single instructor at the front of the class who leads the participants through routines that are designed to simulate terrain and situations similar to riding a bike outdoors.
The classes in Mt. Pleasant are planned to include colorful lights, speakers and a screen. Classes will be taught by instructors, volunteers and video workouts.