Contact: Michele Skeele
Walk Wise, Drive Smart Gets Back in the Groove
If you had braved the outdoors during the recent cold snap, and found yourself along the shore of a frozen Osceola Lake, you would have noticed a group of hardy folks out walking on a sunny, but frigid morning. And if even though we moved quickly to keep warm, if you'd had an opportunity to stop and chat with us, we would have told you that the Walk Wise, Drive Smart monthly walking group is back in step.
Walk Wise, Drive Smart is a pedestrian safety initiative which began through a partnership between, the Council on Aging for Henderson County, the Healthy Aging Coalition, the Highway Safety Research Center at UNC, and the City of Hendersonville. The three year funding cycle from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now over, but the program has had so many successes in Hendersonville that it has taken on a life of its own.
The program has been successful in identifying city sidewalks which need repair, alerting motorists to pedestrians in neighborhoods with bright yellow yard signs, and most recently installing benches on Third and Fourth Avenues with donations from city residents.
One focus of the Walk Wise program was to identify and promote safe walking routes in ten greater Hendersonville neighborhoods. A large part of promoting the routes has been encouraging folks to get out and enjoy these urban trails. Walk Wise staff teamed up with Gary Eblen and Diamond Brand Outdoors to lead walks each month in a different neighborhood.
The response from the community was enthusiastic and often as many as thirty folks would turn out to spend an hour or so walking with Gary and Sam. But with the end of funding and the loss of the Walk Wise site manager, Sam Lovelace, walks were suspended for several months last year.
If you are one those walkers that looked forward to the Walk Wise monthly walks, I have good news. We're back on track! February 5th was our first walk of the New Year and we will continue to plan walks for the first Thursday of each month. If you missed the one this month, your next opportunity to walk with us is coming up on Thursday, March 5th. Gary will lead the 10 am walk beginning at the Patton Park parking area just off Asheville Highway.
Besides placing updates in the paper and on the radio, I will also keep a list of folks who would like to be notified by email when a walk is planned. If you would like to be included on that list, please give me a call at the Council on Aging, 692-4203, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
The weather is getting warmer and I can smell spring in the air. Hopefully, we won't be repeating this month's bone chilling hike. So get out your walking shoes and join us next month. It's one of the best ways to rev up your system and throw off winter's sluggish feeling. I look forward to seeing you out on the sidewalks.