Brewer Economic Development Director D’Arcy Main-Boyington gives a hand to Brewer City Councilor Jerry Goss as he does side lunges under a bar at Veteran's Park Fitness Center on Friday, September 17, 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Brewer leaders want people to use public exercise equipment that was installed last fall in the city’s Veteran’s Park and hasn’t been widely used.

They’re hoping that warmer weather and an upcoming festival along the city’s popular Riverwalk, its riverfront walking path, will spark interest in the new equipment.

The exercise equipment was installed last September on the corner of State and Penobscot streets, close to the Riverwalk. Up to 20 people at a time can use the equipment, which includes a balance rope, sit-up bench, monkey bars, pull-up stations and a chain ladder. 

Machias Savings Bank donated $35,000 to sponsor the project, and Brewer authorized $43,000 to purchase and install the equipment. 

Though local personal trainers were at the ribbon cutting ceremony last September to show people how to use the equipment, Renee Doble, Brewer deputy economic development director, said interest in the park dwindled shortly thereafter.

Doble said the city felt a growing need for more things to do outside as people gravitated toward outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Installing the exercise equipment was a way to “encourage people to get out and exercise and maybe shop downtown, go for a walk along the Riverwalk, or visit one of the restaurants,” Doble said. 

No city department keeps track of how many people use it, said Doble, but the area is under police surveillance. 

Doble said she thinks people may have stayed away because they don’t know how to use it, or simply don’t know it’s there and available for the public to use. 

“I know it was in the news last fall, but hopefully we can get more attention on it when we do the Riverwalk Festival,” Doble said. “We’re hoping that as the weather gets nicer and people see other people using it, it will generate more interest.” 

Local personal trainers will hold demonstrations at the fitness park during the city’s Riverwalk Festival on Saturday, June 4. The celebration along the city’s Riverwalk — a mile-long paved path that follows the Penobscot River — will also include food trucks, children’s activities, a craft fair, live performances and fireworks. 

Brewer Economic Development Director D’Arcy Main-Boyington gives a hand to Brewer City Councilor Jerry Goss as he does side lunges under a bar at Veteran’s Park Fitness Center on Friday, September 17, 2021 .

While the exercise park is considered part of the city’s Riverwalk, it’s separated from the main path by an apartment building. That slight separation could partially explain why the equipment hasn’t been heavily used, said Adam Clark, owner of Adam Clark Fitness in Brewer. 

Clark said he and fellow personal trainer Amy Curry have brought clients to the park and hope to see more people use it as the weather warms. 

Videos demonstrating how to use the fitness equipment for upper-body, core and lower-body workouts are available on the city’s website. Users can also scan a nearby QR code reader with their smartphones to pull up equipment instructions.

While adults may have stayed away from the park since its opening, Doble said the city doesn’t want the park to attract many children, as the busy street corner isn’t the safest place for them to play unsupervised. 

Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...