The Memphis Grizzlies and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee today announced the Memphis Grizzlies Riverfront Fitness Trail, otherwise known as RiverFit, has been granted permanency from the City of Memphis as a public fixture at Tom Lee Park. The park’s permanent status spurred a summer-long enhancement plan, providing the framework for its reinstallation and re-launch celebration event on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
“When we first launched RiverFit, it was an experiment. The trail has been so well received, we thought we should expand the commitment,” said Diane Terrell, VP of Community Engagement for the Grizzlies and Executive Director of the Grizzlies Foundation. “We want to thank our partners—especially BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee—for their contributions, as they clearly see the benefit of innovative health and fitness projects that build community. But we couldn’t have done this without the collective effort of the City of Memphis and the Memphis Riverfront Development Corporation.”
On Thursday, Oct. 22, the park will be unveiled in a public celebration that will include free fitness classes from 5:45-6:30 p.m. , and activations on the volleyball courts and soccer fields. The event will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. with opening remarks from some of the project’s initial innovators. Complimentary classes will be available from Co-Motion (hula-hooping), Delta Groove Yoga and urban rowing from Memphis Rowing. Food trucks will also be on-site selling food and beverages beginning at 5 p.m.
“RiverFit is an important asset to the thriving Downtown community,” adds Janet Hooks, director of City Parks and Neighborhoods for the City of Memphis “For years, we've envisioned a system of innovative park spaces across Memphis and that vision is becoming reality. This is a great example of a green space designed to build community not just within the neighborhood but among all neighborhoods. It’s truly a park for all Memphians and that’s what we intended."
Following observational research and community-wide feedback, RiverFit underwent an enhancement strategy which provided the park with improved station functions and new assets. New installations included a Water Station, provided by the Tennessee Clean Water Network’s Bringing Tap Back project, as well as two stretching stations to accommodate the number of users at the park. The north and south staircases at Tom Lee Park underwent a makeover, and now feature Grizzlies artwork embellished with “Grit” and “Grind.”
The new staircase artwork application serves as an evolving illustration of the Grizzlies’ investment not only in RiverFit but in building a culture of fitness across the Memphis community. Tying in the stair fitness component into the greater Memphis Grizzlies Riverfront Fitness Trail will hopefully draw people from the RiverFit Trail to the Riverwalk.
“RiverFit is a newcomer in a city nearly 200 years old, beside a river that has flowed for thousands of years,” said Calvin Anderson, senior vice president of corporate affairs for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “But in a short time, RiverFit has become a popular fitness destination in Memphis and BlueCross is proud to be playing a role in making it a permanent part of Tom Lee Park.”
RiverFit and its garnered success was due to a conglomerate of strategic partners that included the Memphis Grizzlies, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Riverfront Development Corporation, Mayor A C Wharton, the Division of Parks and Neighborhoods and additional input from Memphis-community fitness enthusiasts and influencers.
“The Riverfront Development Corporation couldn't be happier with the heightened use of Tom Lee Park. People are enjoying all that the park has to offer from the fitness equipment to the natural environment,” said Dorchelle Spence, vice president of RDC. “We're delighted that it's now available permanently.”
Aside from the endless fitness possibilities that the park offers for everyday users, the permanency of RiverFit will provide Grizzlies Prep Charter School scholars a permanent location for physical education classes. The Grizzlies’ 6-8 grade, all-male charter school has been without a fully-functioning gymnasium and relied heavily on public spaces. With the permanency of RiverFit, the Grizz Prepsters will always have a space to regularly exercise with their GrizzFIT program and coaches.
“Since our school derives part of its identity from our downtown location, it makes sense for our ‘gym’ to be the RiverFit stations,” said Grizzlies Prep School Director Parker Couch. “Furthermore, our partnership with the Grizzlies and GrizzFit has already yielded amazing results as the students involved have taken the lessons they have learned from the park and into their day to day lives.”
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies by purchasing 2015-16 Season Tickets, 15- or 22-Game Packs can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single-Game tickets for all Grizzlies games, including Opening Night, Oct. 28 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, are available now. For more information on the Grizzlies, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@memgrizz).