The city of Monroe is welcoming help from community and county partners in expanding its parks system.

New exercise equipment was celebrated this month by the many hands that pulled off the project. Monroe Boys and Girls Club director Jeff Rasmussen said seeing the stations installed has been a long-awaited aspiration.

“I truly hope this is the beginning of something that the community embraces and grabs on to,” he said.

Rasmussen said he envisions adding to the initial four structures that have been installed along the trails in Skykomish River Park, and also constructing similar facilities at other sites throughout the community. He said Snohomish County Councilmember Sam Low, who was also in attendance at the Jan. 11 dedication ceremony, alerted him to the Snohomish County Small Capital Projects Partnership grant funds that made purchasing the equipment possible.

The Boys and Girls Club was required to work with another local agency to meet criteria for the funding, Rasmussen said. He said pairing up with the city — one of the organization’s community partners — was a great fit.

Monroe Parks and Recreation director Mike Farrell said the heavy rain that prevailed at the dedication took a brief break for the ceremony, but the wind was still raging. Despite the typical winter weather, he said community members have already been spotted trying out the stations that went up this fall.

Farrell said he looks forward to the response this spring, when conditions will be even more encouraging. Rasmussen has already taken his family to try out the different products.

The stations are visible from the playground, which Rasmussen touted as a bright idea from city staff. While children are playing on their favorite toys, parents can still keep an eye on them and accomplish their own workout.

Community members will be able to stop by and use the new starting and stretching post, a pull-up and chin-up bar, parallel bars with a balance disc, and a triceps station as they traverse the park’s trails.

Rasmussen said all the equipment is very kid-friendly. Farrell said there are instructions at each site, which were meant to be easily interpreted by and accessible to a variety of users.

The exercise equipment “is something the community has desired for quite some time to introduce into our system,” Farrell said.

The recent addition is one of many projects in the works that would expand and improve facilities throughout Monroe.

The master planning process for Lake Tye Park and a roughly 140-acre future park site currently owned by Cadman Inc., not far from Skykomish River Park, is nearing its end. The latter will be transferred over and developed sometime after the documents are finalized. Plans for the Sky to Sound Water Trail continue to progress.

In Monroe, Al Borlin Park, the Lewis Street Park and boat launch, and the future Cadman site have been identified as potential entries on the route. The water trail spans 84 miles. It stretches from the Salish Sea to the north and south forks of the Snohomish and Skykomish rivers.

More than two dozen public access points have been identified between Everett and the town of Skykomish. Monroe and Sultan are the first cities to actively engage in the design process.

The city of Monroe is also partnering with local and regional agencies to build two connecting trails between downtown and surrounding communities. The plan is part of a much bigger picture. Eventually, the routes could help residents reach as far as eastern Washington, or intersect popular trails in Snohomish and King counties.

Starting at the end of this month, city staff are inviting the public to take part in planning the playground replacement at Skykomish River Park. An open house is scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Monroe City Hall. A presentation will explain potential features and concepts. Afterward, residents will be given an opportunity to make comments and give suggestions.

The Lake Tye Park playground underwent a similar transformation last year. Old equipment was leveled and recycled, then replaced with an inclusive jungle gym and play spaces with ADA-accessible features.

Mayor Geoffrey Thomas said the Boys and Girls Club has really adopted Skykomish River Park as its own. The stewardship they engage in reinforces the value of service and volunteerism, he said.

Rasmussen and Thomas said the kids who did attend the dedication ceremony tried out the new equipment right away. Their curiosity took over, Rasmussen said.

“That is exactly why they are there — to promote healthy activities,” Thomas said.