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Renovated Tampa gym a good fit for health

Tampa Gym01TAMPA — A newly refurbished Tampa gym opened Jan. 8 after four months of renovations that have made it an inviting place to work out. Located in a warehouse bay adjacent to the Tampa Field Office, the gym was transformed from a dark, dingy space to a bright, cheerful place complete with a Seminole-inspired mural.

A joint effort between the Recreation, Health, and Community Planning and Development departments, the project includes new lighting, rubber flooring, equipment, paint and better layout.

“More people are coming now,” said Marsha Roberts, Tampa Recreation site supervisor. “They are happy that it’s nice, clean and usable.”

Before the reboot, the 75-by-25-foot gym contained hand-me-down equipment from gyms on other reservations. Some of the original machines are still there, but new equipment was also added.

“We didn’t have a complete workout system,” trainer Nancy Hailey said. “They took it from being a warehouse with a lot of stuff in it and made it a real gym.”

Gym equipment includes pec fly, leg press and leg extension machines, as well as ellipticals, a treadmill, three standing bikes, one reclining bike and a low-impact NuStep recumbent trainer.

The NuStep offers easy accessibility for elders and those with disabilities but also can be used for a vigorous workout. Hailey said it’s the most popular piece of equipment in the gym.

Old-school jump ropes, medicine balls, Pilates balls, free weights, plyometrics training items and mats round out the equipment inventory. Regular classes include Pilates and stretching.

Hailey, a trainer for Tribal members from ages 20 to over 65 for about eight years, said her classes are now filled to capacity.

“We have people using the gym even when they aren’t training with me,” she said. “They come on their own, which we never saw before.”

The state-of-the-art facility also features wireless and Bluetooth connections, large flat-screen TVs and a stereo with surround sound.

“Seniors are using it more,” said Michele McCoy, site supervisor and a licensed practical nurse. “They can move around more and there are more options for them.”

Tampa may be miles from the heart of the Everglades, but Tribal members can view its beauty while they exercise thanks to a huge mural painted by artist Ruth Osceola. Painted in hues of blues, greens and light browns, it colors most of one wall.

“I wanted the mural to reflect the Seminole people and have it feel like they were still in the Everglades,” said Osceola, who is married to Tribal member Charlie Osceola. “People have said it feels like home; they love that it seems real. I’m glad Tribal members love it.”


Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at