For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Lovelace
Hendersonville Opens First Walk Wise Route
(Hendersonville, NC, 12/10/07) — Walk Wise, Drive Smart Special Event
Despite the bitter cold, a dedicated group gathered on Thursday, December 6 to launch the first Walk Wise route in Hendersonville. Among those in attendance for the ribbon cutting and walk were representatives of the City of Hendersonville, the Council on Aging for Henderson County and the Walk Wise, Drive Smart team. Designed with particular attention to the needs of older adults, the route is approximately 1.5 miles in length and features improvements to make it safe and walkable. Additional improved routes will be opened in the coming months.
The route begins at the Sammy Williams Center for Active Living and continues west on Third Avenue, turns north onto Whitted, then east onto Fourth, south onto Main, and finally west onto Third. Orange paint marks areas where walkers need to exercise extra care because of potential tripping hazards.
The idea of designated safe routes began with a plea from local residents, recognizing that sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities were aging along with the population. Narrow sidewalks, cracks and overgrown shrubbery can pose hazards to some walkers, especially those with health problems. Because walking is not only great exercise, but also a way to get where you need to go, communities across the county are beginning to explore solutions to improving the environment.
Karen Smith, Director of the Council on Aging for Henderson County said, "We are very pleased with the City's partnership on this effort. When you realize that almost a third of Hendersonville residents are older adults, then the importance of this work is clear!" The Walk Wise, Drive Smart project is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Program and is administered by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. It is also affiliated with the NC Healthy Aging Research Network. Lessons learned in Hendersonville will be shared across the country.
The walk along the route was one of a series of monthly walks in the Hendersonville community co-sponsored by Diamond Brand Outdoors, ECO, and the Walk Wise, Drive Smart project. For a route map and information about future walks, please contact Sam Lovelace at (864) 457-6166.
For more information about the Walk Wise, Drive Smart program, please visit the website at www.walk-wise.org.