Riverwalk extends to the east of First Street and has a beautiful space on the Manatee River behind Manatee Memorial Hospital but beyond the popular skate park, there are no existing amenities.
That will change in the next two to three weeks.
The city of Bradenton entered into an agreement with Together Manatee, which last year raised $40,000 to put toward a new exercise area on Riverwalk and the city agreed to supplement the project with an additional $100,000.
"The direction of the council at the time was that if we were going to agree to do it, that we would do it right and not just throw something in there just because we got a grant," said Economic Development Director Carl Callahan.
The area will feature a seven-station exercise pod on a rubberized pad surface and will be partially shaded with canopies similar to what is on Riverwalk now. As planning continues on the eventual eastward expansion of Riverwalk from Manatee Memorial to 12th Street East, the location is ideal for the city's vision to have the extension focus on health and fitness.
"That's something (Mayor Wayne Poston) has been pushing for a long time," Callahan said. "It's a natural tie-in to an area of Riverwalk lacking an amenity now, as well the theme of the eastern expansion."
The approximate coverage of the exercise area will be about 30 feet-by-70 feet, taking up a good portion of the grassy area at the very eastern edge of the park.
"It's not a very big space here," said Silka Rivera, who walks that portion of Riverwalk daily. "I think it will be too close to the street for any children who want to use it."
Louis Herron, disagrees and said it is needed on the east end of the Riverwalk.
"You have the skate park right there, which is great for the kids," he said. "But you don't have anything on this side for older people so I would think that they should put it here. Plus, you have the hospital right here so it's a great location for people undergoing rehabilitation to walk over and use it to exercise."
Monica Baker also walks that stretch of Riverwalk "all the time. I think it's an awesome idea and it's free. My only concern would be bringing more traffic to this side of the park. It's been a hidden secret over on this side, but it won't be a secret any longer."
Callahan said the equipment has been delivered and, "you should see something going up in the next two to three weeks. There will be a stationary exercise bike, a pullup station and everything you'd see in a lot of parks today."