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California city to charge people exercising in public parks

By Mason White 9:25 AM October 11, 2013
Woman exercising in park illustration 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
The days of exercising for free in public parks are over, at least in one California city.

A quiet beachfront city plans to start charging fitness trainers for using its parks after months of complaints from residents that the commercial classes are infringing on park goers in Santa Monica.

The City Council voted 5 to 1 on Tuesday night, to approve an ordinance requiring fees, with prices determined by the number of people enrolled in a particular class. Fees begin at several hundred dollars.

The ordinance also prohibits exercise classes on Sundays, at the signature Palisades Park in Santa Monica with its breathtaking ocean views.

The measure requires a second reading before it becomes law.

People have also complained that weights, treadmills and other heavy equipment needed for some classes are damaging the landscape of the park.

“It’s starting to look like a 24-hour gym out here,” former Olympic track star Johnny Gray, who often runs in the park, said.