Athletes welcome return to a workout routine
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Athletes welcome return to a workout routine

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Andy Jones had an entire basketball court to himself Saturday morning at the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf, plenty of space to social distance as he knocked down a few jump shots to begin a workout.

He finished things off by lifting weights at Level II Fitness, where Deven Reeder looked forward to doing the same and Parker Marshall simply welcomed the chance to return to a normal level of physical activity.

“It’s great to have a chance to get back at it and get back into the routine,’’ said Marshall, whose routine includes training between 60-90 minutes at least five times a week.

The three were among several dozen people working out late Saturday morning as the sprawling Bettendorf complex opened for the first time since being required to close because of state-mandated restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only thing better than last week's announcement by Gov. Kim Reynolds that fitness facilities in Iowa were being allowed to re-open were the sights and sounds being heard Saturday by Dave Stow, CEO of the TBK Bank Sports Complex.

He watched as a handful of soccer players ran around on an outdoor field not far away from where the sounds of people lifting weights intermingled with the dribbling of a basketball.

“We really didn’t know what was going to happen when we opened the doors, but it’s good to see people. It's good to have some life and energy in this building again,’’ Stow said. “In this business, that’s what we’re all about.’’

The doors at the complex opened to the public for the first time since mid-March at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday and there were a few people waiting to come in when they were unlocked, Stow said.

There are changes.

Signage and tape on the floor encourage social distancing and hand sanitizer was placed on tabletops at the entrance to nearly every area of the facility.

There are limitations on the number of athletes who can play or practice on courts and fields at one time.

Current Iowa regulations allow no more than 10 people in a group setting, something that currently limits most team practices and competition.

However, small-group workouts involving fewer than 10 people are allowed and Stow said the facility is available for groups that meet the guidelines.

At Level II Fitness, in a row of cardiovascular machines only every other machine is currently available for use.

In lifting areas, benches are now spaced six feet apart and spot racks remained closed because of their proximity to each other.

Group fitness classes at the facility remain temporarily suspended.

Additional personnel are being assigned to each shift in the fitness facility to continuously sanitize and clean equipment as well as monitor occupancy levels and spacing.

Stow said those tasks extend to staff working the entire facility.

“People will see our staff cleaning frequently and even some of the deep cleaning that we’ve typically done overnight, we’ll be doing that for the time being when people are around,’’ Stow said. “We’ve always put an emphasis on cleaning, but it will be more noticeable now.’’

The entertainment and restaurant areas of the TBK Bank Sports Complex remain closed, but a small concession stand has reopened.

Mostly, the athletes working out Saturday were simply glad to have a place to go.

Jones, a Davenport resident who works for Cargill in Bettendorf, works out nearly every day at the TBK Bank Sports Complex and is anxious for the return of Sunday night pick-up basketball games in the future.

“It’s been tough the last few weeks,’’ said Jones, who played college basketball at St. John’s (Minn.). “I’ve been able to go out for a run, but the outdoor courts, most of the rims have been taken down. This is a great place and I’m glad it’s open again.’’

Reeder, a Pleasant Valley student from Bettendorf, said the variety of available equipment is part of the attraction.

“I’ve been doing a lot of workouts off of YouTube at home and that type of thing, but it’s time to get back to work,’’ Reeder said. “I’ve been looking forward to this and I’m anxious to get going.’’

Marshall lives in Moline and has frequently worked out at the Two Rivers YMCA there and the TBK Bank Sports Complex in the past.

“I’m glad to have this back open,’’ Marshall said. “It’s a good gym and a place to get a good workout in. When everything was closed, it was tough when you’re used to working out every day.’’

Stow and his staff are working with sport organizers to bring events back to the complex safely.

Requirements will include meeting any specific regulations specified by government or sport governing bodies.

“Every sport has its own set of guidelines and we require the sport organizers to follow them,’’ Stow said.

“In baseball, the home plate umpire has been moved to behind the pitcher and there are requirements about how often baseballs must be sanitized. Throw-ins in soccer have become kick-ins and in volleyball, there is a limit of one ball per court and requirements of when it must be sanitized.’’

Baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer tournaments scheduled for the next couple of weeks have been postponed or canceled.

“The current guidelines of 10 or fewer people are in place through May 27. When that number grows to 50 or fewer, I think you’ll start to see some events,’’ Stow said.

“I know the (tournament) organizers are working to put together ways to make that work. We’ll do it the right way and the safe way for everyone.’’

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