MARCH 24, 2015
Louisa, KY — A grant, applied for by Dr. Ron Enders, Preparedness and MRC Coordinator with the Lawrence Co. Health Dept., was awarded for training on development of pedestrian walkways and trails, by the Kentucky Dept. of Health, which emphasizes the importance of walking accessibility for everyone in all communities.
Accessibility; “meaning connecting all people to all places using all modes of transportation. This includes children, seniors, people using canes, walkers or wheelchairs, economically disadvantaged, walkers and runners, college students, tourists and visitors and local business patrons.”
Accompanying Dr. Enders at the training last week was Carolyn McGinn, Nutritionist and Health Educator, also with the Lawrence Co. Health Dept., and Catrina Vargo, Lawrence Co. Economic Development Coordinator, who was invited to attend the training for a supporting letter she contributed to accompany the grant proposal.
Enders said the program is about “Changing the community one step at a time. The training provided a blueprint for getting started on important infrastructure improvements that will ultimately benefit the health and wellbeing of the people who live in Lawrence County and visitors from elsewhere.”
Students with the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) have also been involved with this project. It is a club where teens can get together and discuss issues they face and get engaged in community projects. “We use a curriculum provided by Wyman Corp. to guide them into discussions of social, ethical, and practical applications. Wyman partners with local health departments to offer this opportunity. For the past three years my TOP club has consisted of students in the Lawrence County High School alternative program” said Enders.
McGinn said “The Pedestrian Plan Training provided a wealth of knowledge and numerous resources to help communities with the development of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Developing such a plan for our community can help us identify opportunities for enhancing bicycle and pedestrian travel which can increase public safety, physical activity and tourism. Working together we can establish an improved bicycle and pedestrian environment to create a healthier and more livable community for all of us.”
Vargo said walkways and trails are essential in communities not only for residents but for visitors and tourists as well. “We are very limited in in this area for good places to walk, and that is something on the list I want to help with. The training was excellent and provided in depth knowledge on how to develop a plan for walkways and trails. It will be especially helpful in working towards a ‘trail town status.’ Walking accessibility is also important to the value of real estate, and is becoming a more attractive asset in the sale of homes and property, according to realtors.”
The training was held at the Morehead Conference Center Thursday, March 19, and was presented by Troy Hearn with the Kentucky Dept. of Transportation. Participants received a hands on learning experience as they separated into groups and walked certain downtown areas of Morehead that are in need of upgrades, repairs, and modifications. The group identified problems and potential hazards, then returned to the conference center where they presented their findings and discussed possible solutions.
The Lawrence County participants found the training to be extremely helpful, and look forward to working with the city and county in development of projects related to walkways.