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Renderings courtesy of Groundwork Fitness.
When Gio Ferraro, the owner of DTLB’s Groundwork Fitness on Pine, saw the parklet being constructed just across the street from her at Hamburger Mary’s, she was not only happily jealous but curious.
Surely, the increased foot traffic means increased business and safety—that was one thing. But the question that pestered her enough to push her into action was one most never thought about: why are parklets relegated solely to outdoor dining? Why can’t Long Beach—and therefore the world—have parklets for other things?
Well, Gio’s wish is becoming fulfilled as she begins work next month on the nation’s first fitness parklet and with this accomplishment, opening avenues for everything from tattoo parklets to dog park parklets.
“What this really is about is the community,” Ferraro said. “It’s about creating a vibrancy and a kinetic energy on our streets… I wanna see senior folks and young kids and everybody looking at their streets and neighbors differently. I want them connecting.”
The 18-foot-long and 15-foot-deep parklet will at first appear bare given the renderings—and that’s because trainers will be the ones responsible for determining the parklet‘s function day-to-day.
From punching bags and spin cycles to weight lifting and pull-up bars, the utility of the parklet will shift and shape with whatever is going on that day. If the City hosts another Beach Streets? Ferraro will bring in a DJ and host gymnastic-based, gravity-defying Sparta Bars putting on a show for passersby (like she did last time). If it’s another case of the good ol’ Mondays, it will be filled with gym equipment to provide inspiration and motivation.
In other words, Ferraro is bringing the culture of famed Venice Muscle Beach and shrinking it down to parking size—all the while eschewing unnecessary machismo in order to make health and fitness more inviting.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this (and aforementioned) is the fact that Ferraro has set a new standard for parklets.
“This has never been done before—anywhere,” Ferraro said. “So we had to work the City Attorney in drafting what will be the guidelines for the project—truly a collaboration that is largely thanks to Councilmember Lena Gonzalez, Studio One Eleven, and Jan Van Dijs… Hopefully it invites other peoole to creatively look at their potential beyond the front door of their business.”
The parklet will break ground the day after the opening of the nearby Pie Bar/Romeo Chocolates parklet—and the project that deemed me to declare that DTLB is the King of Parklets. Following that, it should be complete within two weeks.
Groundwork Fitness is located at 333 Pine Ave.