SOUTHINGTON — After a park board member raised concerns about a local business crowding the Rails to Trails linear trail, officials have concluded there isn’t a problem.
During the Board of Park Commissioners meeting last week member Joanne Palmieri said she noticed a large group exercising on the trail near CrossFit Southington. She said they were blocking the area and she was concerned about bicyclists, people with strollers and other trail users getting through.
Park board vice chairman Mike Fasulo said the board hasn’t received any complaints about CrossFit Southington using the area.
CrossFit is in the Factory Square building on 37 W. Center St., one of the busier areas of the trail in town.
“There were no complaints and it hasn’t reached a point where we have to talk to them,” Fasulo said.
Fasulo said if a business is holding a class in the middle of the trail then it’s something the board would like to address but if they are using it simply to run then they can do that. For now, the park board decided to observe the area and if members see ongoing problems then they will talk to the business.
“We do allow businesses to have exercise programs on the trail,” said Town Attorney Mark Sciota. “But in no way can it impede use from anyone else.”
Bobby Vargo, the co-owner of CrossFit Southington, said he uses the trails “as he sees fit” for exercises during class times involving running or sprints. At the beginning of scheduled classes Vargo said he tells his clients to make way for people on bikes, people running, or walking and children on the trails during use. Class sizes also fluctuate during the week, he said.
“We view safety as a priority,” Vargo said.
He said he hasn’t heard any complaints about their use on the trail.
Director of Recreation David Lapreay said there are grass areas along the trails that can be used for stationary group exercises if need be so the trail doesn’t become congested, which is something that Vargo said he does from time to time. Lapreay said he hasn’t had any complaints from the public about CrossFit Southington using the area yet.
“We left it as if someone sees something they will bring it to my attention and we can talk to them about it,” Lapreay said. “It’s fine if they’re running on it, no one has issues with that.”