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November Project turns Bicentennial Unity Plaza into temporary gym

(Provided Photo/Timmy Howard, Aurora Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The sound of scissors snipping over a ribbon may have been echoing in a new public space celebrated in downtown Indianapolis when a popular fitness movement made use of Bicentennial Unity Plaza on Thursday.

November Project became one of the earliest community groups to take advantage of the space less than 24 hours after it opened on the north side of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Jason Shaw, the owner of Day Won Fitness, started the Indianapolis chapter of the November Project in 2014. The program was launched in Boston in 2011 and is described as a free fitness movement with a presence in cities around the world.

Shaw received permission from Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host approximately 50 of the group’s members early Friday morning. He tells News 8 that the production manager for Pacers Sports & Entertainment was more than accommodating. 

“He even showed up this morning and brought out the basketballs for our people to shoot around,” Shaw said. “When you live in a city, it’s so important to experience it, to learn about it and embrace it, and the best way to do that is by being present in a place … Use the spaces for good, positive events, like an inclusive workout, otherwise these spaces that took so much time and money to build get trashed and used for not-so-positive things.”

Shaw said his members considered visiting the new Bicentennial Unity Plaza a “can’t miss event.”

“As people walked in, it was like kids on Christmas! Everybody had their phones out getting video of the space, their walk onto the court, the whole experience,” he said. “People loved it and definitely had a little more pep in their step today.”

November Project meets twice a week year-round for organized group workouts that last approximately a half hour. Each Wednesday, dozens of people join the free gathering at the Indiana War Memorial. On Fridays, leaders choose a location featuring other landmarks and destinations in Indianapolis.

Malia McGovern, one of the group’s co-leaders said November Project is about more than creating exercise opportunities.

“We have a beautiful city, and we want to make our city our gym,” McGovern said. “We are a community that gives back to Indianapolis across our city. We connect with each other outside our weekly workouts to network and grow our ever-evolving community. Indianapolis has so much to offer from north to south to east to west.”

November Project invites people of all ages and fitness levels to join workouts.