Thursday March 30, 2006
--Abramson to host four hiking, biking events this year--
--$50,000 in grants showing results; second-round funding awarded in June--
Tee-ball for children in the Portland and Russell neighborhoods. Aerobics and strength training for individuals with mental retardation. Soccer skills for children of Somali refugees. Repairing bicycles in Old Louisville. And nutritional information shared with teenage girls in Newburg. These are among the grass-roots initiatives taking place across Louisville as part of Mayor Jerry Abramson’s Healthy Hometown Movement – and there is more to come.
With Meyzeek Middle School students planting herbs as a backdrop, Abramson today said the now year-and-a-half-old Healthy Hometown Movement is making progress in encouraging healthier lifestyles and more physical activity among Louisville residents.
"Being healthy is a lifetime commitment," Abramson said. "Through the Healthy Hometown Movement, we’re focusing on equipping our residents with the information to make better choices and providing the venues and the opportunities to be more active," Abramson said.
Hiking, biking events planned
After thousands of Louisville residents participated in the first ever Mayor’s Hike & Bike events last year, Abramson announced that the cycling, walking and trail-hiking events would be expanded from three to four events during 2006.
"Our Hike & Bikes will be terrific opportunities for families to get out and be active together, and continue or start new healthy-living habits," Abramson said.
The first event is the April 15 Mayor’s Spring Hike at Jefferson Memorial Forest, 12304 Holsclaw Hill Road, opening at 10 a.m., with the hike beginning at 11 a.m. With 6,000 acres of mature hardwood trees, native plants and spring wildflowers, Jefferson Memorial is the nation’s largest municipal urban forest.
For the Mayor’s Hike, five of the forest’s 13 trails will be featured, providing a range of options for hikers of all abilities. The trails range in length from 1½ miles up to 4½ miles, and have terrain varying from relatively flat to rugged. Wheelchair accessible trails are available. Trails will be flagged with biodegradable tape of varying colors, and the forest’s volunteer Trail Rangers will be on hand to assist individuals as necessary along the routes.
New this year will be a variety of short guided hikes starting each half hour, including children’s hikes, wildflower hikes and other guided hikes describing various forest aspects. Space for guided hikes is limited. All hikers will be provided maps with a brief guide identifying the trails and the spring wildflowers in bloom.
Before and after the hike, the staging area will feature a health-fair atmosphere with nutritional snacks, children’s activities, music and several informational booths providing tips on hiking safety, trail etiquette and other healthy-living information. The first 500 hikers will receive a free Healthy Hometown bandanna.
The other hiking and cycling events are:
- Mayor’s Hike & Bike, from Louisville Slugger Field to Cherokee Park, Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, opens 10 a.m., cycling and walking begins 11 a.m.
- Mayor’s Hike & Bike, from Waterfront Park to Shawnee Park, Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, opens 10 a.m., cycling and walking begins 11 a.m.
- Mayor’s Fall Hike at Jefferson Memorial Forest, Saturday, Oct. 21, opens 10 a.m., hiking begins 11 a.m.
Healthy Hometown mobilizes neighborhood and community groups
The Meyzeek Middle School herb plantings are part of a community-garden project under development in the Smoketown neighborhood and supported by the Healthy Hometown program.
When completed in the next few weeks, the garden will be used for healthy eating and outdoor education by Meyzeek students, the Presbyterian Community Center Freedom School and child development center. Plots also will be available for community use. Louisville Metro Public Works prepared the site and applied topsoil. The project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Metropolitan Sewer District.
Meyzeek also supports healthy lifestyles through its C.H.O.I.C.E program, which received one of 17 grants awarded through the Healthy Hometown Movement. The grant program distributed $50,000 among neighborhood and community organizations whose programs focus on health, wellness or physical activity. Abramson said applications for a second round of grants are being reviewed and an additional $50,000 will be awarded in June.
For information on the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement and other healthy-living events, visit www.louisvilleky.gov and search "Healthy Hometown."