Just a few blocks from Body-Solid’s headquarters in Forest Park, Illinois once stood the famed Roos Factory Building.
The building—built in 1918—housed the Roos Cedar Chest Factory and in its heyday the factory employed around 400 people, then the largest employer of Forest Park residents.
Roos Cedar Chests were regarded as the “must-have’ cedar bridal chests of the United States and even today have become collectors items sold for thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately for Roos, tastes evolved and cedar chests were no longer a desirable commodity. The once proud factory building fell into disarray in the 1960s. Eventually, the Roos Company left and in their place the Fisher Pen Company, Castle Soap Company and a host of others. None lasted.
Finally, in 2010, after years of failed redevelopment proposals, the Park District of Forest Park bought the building with plans of rehabbing it. The brand-new Roos Recreation Center, set to open May 26, 2018, is the result of those plans.
“The purpose of Roos Recreation Center is to provide fitness and recreation for everyone in the community and the surrounding areas,” said Andrew Doss, Athletic Supervisor at the Park District of Forest Park.
The Roos Recreation Center is the culmination of a large-scale park redevelopment project from the Village of Forest Park.
“The Roos space was ideal being next to the park,” said Doss. “We now have a full concept.”
With the addition of the Roos Recreation Center, Forest Park now has an entire recreation campus spanning multiple blocks including baseball/softball fields, an aquatic center, numerous children parks, outdoor trails and more.
The Roos Recreation Center itself features a massive gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and other indoor sports activities as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center filled entirely with Body-Solid equipment.
“We chose Body-Solid equipment based on the quality and the ease of use for youth through senior citizens,” said Doss. “Every piece of cardio and weight equipment we have in the facility is made by Body-Solid.”
Roos Recreation Center features some of Body-Solid’s best-selling and most well-regarded equipment including the SPR1000DBBACK Double Power Rack, several Pro Club Line Series 2 pieces including our S2SP Shoulder Press, 2SLAT Lat Pull/Row, S2SLC Seated Leg Curl and S2BTP Biceps/Triceps as well as SDR Rubber-Coated Hex Dumbbells, SAB500 Commercial Ab Bench, ORT Olympic Grip Plates, OB86CHICAGO Chicago Bars, medicine balls, kettlebells, storage and much more.
Doss and his colleagues worked directly with Body-Solid dealer and fellow Forest Park, Illinois residents Fitness Factory to outfit the new facility. For Eric Start and the team at Fitness Factory working on this once-in-a-lifetime local project was an honor.
“It was a pleasure working with Larry Piekarz, Andrew Doss and Rachel Entler over the past 12 months,” said Start, Commercial/Government Sales Manager at Fitness Factory. “(The Park District of Forest Park) had a vision on what they wanted the Roos Recreational Fitness Center to be and provide the community… seeing this vision become a reality was very rewarding.”
“(Fitness Factory) was wonderful,” said Doss. “Nothing but helpful and flexible.”
In the end, the Roos Recreation Center is as local as any project you’ll find. The collaboration of two Forest Park fitness companies working closely with the Park District of the town to build this awesome new facility.
“We greatly appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this project,” said Start. “And wish the Park District of Forest Park and the Roos Recreational much future success!”
The Roos Recreation Center officially opens on May 26th. For more information, visit the Park District of Forest Park at pdofp.org or like the Roos Recreation Center on Facebook at facebook.com/roosreccenter. To learn more about Fitness Factory, visit them at fitnessfactory.com or call (800) 383-9300.