Rio Bravo sees opening of first fitness center in city

Residents of Rio Bravo are about to receive a better way to stay in shape as the county’s first fitness facility in the city opened Monday.

The Rio Bravo Fitness Center opened its doors for its first time free of charge to all members. It is located at 1600 Orquidia Lane in Rio Bravo.

The opening was announced by Pct. 1 Webb County Commissioner Jesse Gonzalez and his staff, as Monday served as the first day people could attend in a soft opening. The grand ribbon cutting ceremony has been postponed until COVID-19 numbers improve in the area.

“We had been getting ready a little bit before the holidays to be able to open this first time ever fitness center in Rio Bravo,” Gonzalez said. “This is our second one county-wide, as the first one is in El Cenizo, and the El Cenizo one has been very successful as the people are now happy because they don’t have to travel miles just to go and do some type of indoor exercise.”

The El Cenizo facility opened in 2018, and Gonzalez says since that time, his office had been preparing budgets and other data in efforts to get the new Rio Bravo facility opened. But because of various matters, including the pandemic, its opening had to be postponed until now.

Gonzalez says the amenities are something needed for the community as there were no facilities of these types. It will also help many locals stay fit while athletes now have a place to go in efforts to stay in condition for their sports.


“It is all about living a healthy lifestyle, as I am very big on that because exercise protects our health, attitude and reflects on a lot of things,” Gonzalez said. “So if you look at the things that the cities of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo are lacking, a little bit of amenities like these go a long way — especially amenities that are able to provide some type of fitness … some type of cardio exercise to not only the people who are there but also for the students.

“You have middle school, you have LBJ High School, and a lot of the kids from there are in sports. And when you are in sports, you have to keep conditioning and staying in shape to stay fit. With this, you now don’t need to get out of high school after school at 4, or after practice, or go miles away to put your second exercise of the day simply to try to stay in condition, as now you can go at a walking distance or across the block and take advantage of these free services.”

Overall, Gonzalez says the people of Rio Bravo have demonstrated great enthusiasm for the news of the opening of the fitness center.

“They are excited, and not everybody knows yet, so hopefully this information helps out get the word out,” Gonzalez said. “They are excited because the closest amenity to them is in south Laredo, and that is about five miles away. And this is going to be right there available to them and available at no cost.”

According to the county commissioner, he also believes people should exercise more and work on their fitness in efforts to avoid a severe illness caused by viruses like COVID-19. Doing some exercise is known to boost the immune system, which can help against the virus and other pathogens causing illness.

“We all know that COVID attacks our lungs, and this is just another way and reason we should stay proactive,” Gonzalez said. “COVID is here to stay, as it has been two years and it is still here, but we can keep up with it and we can beat it, and how we do that is that we are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, eat better, exercise and keep those lungs in good condition.”

Gonzalez also thanked the Webb County Commissioner’s Court and Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina for supporting the measure in the creation of the fitness center in Rio Bravo. He also thanked the community for coming forward and developing several fitness programs for the people of the area.

“We have Zumba there in the morning from 9-10 a.m., and once the hour changes when the sun is going to be out longer in the summer or spring — whenever we do the spring forward — we are going to extend the hours and are going to be opened until 8 or 9 p.m. depending on the demand of the people,” Gonzalez said. “If the community uses it, we are going to make sure that we have them available for them for longer hours, so I am already working on that part-time budget. So whenever we do and have that time change, we are going to have it opened for more time.”

Gonzalez says this would be extremely beneficial for people who work later in the day and those who come out of school later because they stay for practice or some other activities.

Although Monday’s opening of the fitness facility was considered a soft one as there was no ribbon cutting, the commissioner says the facility is already open for the public to go and use it free of charge.

“Once we hit March, we will be able to do a nice ribbon cutting,” Gonzalez said. “We are waiting a bit more because of COVID numbers, but we are open. We are opened already, that is for sure.”

jorge.vela@lmtonline.com

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