Heather Richardson tips the ball over the net during the Bidarki Classic Volleyball Tournament at Mt. Eccles Elementary School on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Photo by Emily Mesner for The Cordova Times

The Cordova Department of Parks and Recreation recently replaced outdated equipment at Bidarki Recreation Center.  

Two new treadmills were purchased by the department in order to replace older models that staff say were out of date. The newer models are Precor TRM 835 commercial treadmills that were sourced from Top Fitness in Anchorage. 

Duncan Chisholm, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, says that the replacement of the popular equipment was much needed.  

“The two existing treadmills we are replacing were purchased circa 2010 and both have done over 50,000 miles each, which was the most the service technician had ever heard of,” he said.   

The City was able to make the purchases using grant funds from a Rasmusen Foundation grant totaling $22,500. The grant was awarded in September 2023, and the treadmills were installed earlier this month on the mezzanine floor of the building near the existing ellipticals. Bidarki currently has three separate cardio-focused areas throughout the building that include treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary exercise bikes.  

Chisholm says that it is important to provide fit-for-purpose equipment. He adds that regularly updating equipment which is getting older and has higher maintenance requirements adds value to gym goers in the long run.  


“As general rules of thumb, fitness machines have an average life of 10 years. We started to notice that the costs to repair the treadmills began to outstrip the value of the machine, resulting in a higher repair bill,” he said.  

For many in the community, Bidarki’s classes and fitness center are more than just recreation. Many community members feel that having access to physical exercise is an essential part of what makes living in Cordova in the winter possible.  

Chisholm says that he wants to continue to move Bidarki in a direction that recognizes this fact.  

“Parks and Recreation is an essential community service. Just as water, sewer, and public safety are considered essential public services, parks and recreation are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community,” he said.  

The city has plans to continue to upgrade and invest in parks and recreation’s available services to the community in the coming years. According to Chisholm, the department is beginning work on a parks and recreation master plan which will be a 20-year vision for Cordova’s parks and recreation system.  

“We have a work plan to address several deficiencies identified in a recent building condition assessment. The building does require significant upgrades to make it fit-for-purpose,” he said.  

The city will be accepting sealed bids for the old equipment, which staff says still have plenty of life left. Two of the older 2010 Precor C966 treadmills are available. Bids will be accepted until Jan. 24. To bid on the equipment and for more information about Bidarki recreation center hours and offerings visit www.cityofcordova.net.