PHOTO: Montgomery County Cooperative Extension
Health professionals believe being physically active can help ward off a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listing Kentucky as one of the least active states in the country, many communities are doing what they can to boost physical activity among citizens, including a new walking trail in Montgomery County.
Folks in Montgomery County formed the Montgomery in Motion Coalition, which later became the Montgomery County Healthy Communities Coalition, to encourage people to participate in physical activity and focus on total health. The coalition consists of community members from many walks of life in the county including health, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, public schools, the legal field, parks and recreation, businesses, county residents and elected officials. Their efforts resulted in the recent unveiling of Adena Trail in downtown Mt. Sterling. The trail is named after early Indian tribes that hunted in Montgomery County and built the very distinctive Adena Burial Mounds at the edge of Mt. Sterling
UK Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Montgomery County Peggy Powell is a member of the coalition. She said the trail is just one part of their plan to increase physical activity in the county.
“Efforts from this group have motivated citizens to be more active and prompted community leaders to recognize the need for safe and secure facilities for families to be physically active,” she said. “One of the early and continuing projects of the group was to sponsor Second Sunday (a statewide physical activity project for families).”
In 2002, Leadership Montgomery County applied for and received a grant for a Rails-to-Trails project. Powell said that grant money was not spent at the time, but later, momentum began to build to continue that effort.
“Through the leadership of the Montgomery County Healthy Communities Coalition, monies were secured to fund a portion of an old railroad track project in downtown Mt. Sterling,” she said. “About 1,800 feet of the trail is paved and is enhanced with benches. The coalition plans to apply for additional grants to pave larger sections of the project.”
In early June, the coalition unveiled the new walking and bike trail dubbed Adena Trail in a day of celebration and physical activity for all ages. Events included bike races, three-legged races, hula hoop contests, water races, dancing, sidewalk art and many other activities. More than 100 students from the Montgomery County Public Schools participated as well as nearly 50 students from a youth arts council group in the area. The Kentucky State Police set up Tiny Town to teach participants about transportation safety. The trail got its name through a community contest.
“The project is not as extensive as we had originally hoped, but it is an important addition to our community’s built environment and adds to the opportunities for families to exercise together to promote better health and stronger families,” said Mt. Sterling Mayor Gary Williamson.”
“It is wonderful to see a community pull together to provide a space like the Adena Trail,” said Nicole Peritore, physical activity program coordinator for the Health Education through Extension Leadership program at UK. “This sets a great example of teamwork in every sense of the word and will provide health benefits for people of Montgomery County for many, many years to come. It is exactly what we hoped would come out of Second Sunday.”
The Adena Trail Exercise Path located in downtown Mt. Sterling runs from South Queen Street to South Sycamore and connects to Pribble Park. The trail is behind the Health Department, Post office and the UK Cooperative Extension Office and gets great use by office workers.
Peggy Powell, 859-498-8741