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2016 Success Stories

 

Columbia Township at Columbia Township Park

 

 

                          New Walking Path near Middle School                                                                      New Walking Path                        

 

                                   

                                                                               Potential Space for Fitness Station Along Path

 

        As Columbia Township does not allow for easy access to safe sidewalks for pedestrians, there is a need for the community to have access to a space for biking, walking, and running. Upon receiving funding from Lorain County Public Health, Columbia Township Park was able to expand the existing walking trail to .78 miles which allows for a safe walking route to the playground and Columbia Branch Library. Over the course of six months, Columbia Township installed a pedestrian counter to track utilization but did not feel the numbers would suffice due to the counter only existing for a few months.
        The public’s perception has been extremely positive and the community was excited to hear of the new walking trail at Columbia Township Park. In fact, many residents have asked Columbia Township what the next plans are to further enhance the park. During anytime of the day, a visitor using the trail can always be observed. Community members across all ages visit the park for biking, running, and walking. When designing the walking trail, Columbia Township made sure that the trail was handicap accessible, and the city officials have observed a few residents in wheelchairs using the walking trail. In addition, the walking trail has also served as a method of therapy for two community members who were recovering from knee replacements. Since the park is in close proximity of the Middle School and has access to the trail, the students utilize the trail and playground during recess and gym class. Also, the Columbia Township school bus drivers use the walking trails frequently once they have returned from taking the students to the schools. As the Fire Department is directly across from Columbia Township Park, the fireman often utilize the trail to get an easy and quick workout in.
        To promote the utilization of the walking path, Columbia Township has hosted many programs and events at the park. One of the bigger activities has been the “Walk and Read”, program, where residents engage in a book club and have the book discussion while walking on the trail. Additionally, the Columbia Branch Library has hosted a “Storytime” program where a librarian reads a book to the preschoolers in the Gazebo at the park. With the VFW being directly next to the park, the agency has also hosted a few events at the park, including a Hayride during the fall months. While the park has a lot of open land and green space, Columbia Township has hosted Car and Trunk Shows as well as Homecoming Days which has always been successful in bringing in a large crowd. When writing the grant, a plan was to have the Fireman host Blood Pressure and Diabetes Screenings on certain days at the park. However, the Fire Department has not done any screenings, but has instead conducted Blood Drives at the park which was well received by the community. Most recent, Columbia Township Park was the host site for the June 2017 “Fit Walks Summer Series” which drew in both returning walkers as well as new walkers.
        While Columbia Township has not increased in any additional partnerships or collaborations with outside agencies, they have significantly strengthened their relationship with the Columbia Branch Library and the Schools. Currently, the park is not seeking any additional funding to further develop the walking trail, but if funds do become available in the future, Columbia Township would like to add fitness stations, mile markers, and lighting around the walking path.

 

Keystone Local School District - Weighing the Benefits of Exercise in LaGrange

 

 

                                      New Cardio Equipment                                                                 Community members using the weightroom

 

                                 

                                                                                Weightroom opening with KEY collaborative

 

        Keystone Local School District is striving to keep the Lagrange Community healthy! Upon learning that student athletes often train off school campus due to insufficient fitness equipment and hearing from LaGrange residents that exercising routinely can be a challenge, Keystone Schools took the initiative to increase physical activity for the LaGrange community. Through a mini-grant funded by the Lorain County Public Health, Keystone Schools added a community weight room in the high school. During the school day, the weight room is used frequently for PE classes and athletic team practices. To encourage community attendance, the weight room is open to the general public Monday through Thursdays from 5-7pm at no cost.
        For LaGrange resident, Tony Stefan, the weight room has been a great asset to his health. Using the weight room facility roughly four times a week, Tony is able to get a fun and quick work out in. Since regular physical activity is a big priority for Tony, by having the easy access to the weight room without any costs has allowed him to remain physically active year round. From the large improvements on the weight room, Tony has truly observed the long-lasting impact it has on the community, “The community views the weight room as a great thing, and there is always someone using the facility. When comparing the current weight room to the previous one, it is night and day, there is more updated equipment now.”
        With the available equipment and machines, all utilizers are able to get a full-body workout in each time they visit the facility. The weight room is fully equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, dumbbells, medicine balls, and state of the art fitness machines.
        Best of all, the LaGrange residents are now able to exercise regularly due to the weight room being sustainable. Since it is located indoors at a school, the weight room can be used year round and always has monitored supervision for safety and precaution. Also since the school is located in the areas that are highly populated in LaGrange, the close proximity allows for community members to easily access the facility.
        If you want to learn how you can stay healthy in the Keystone School District, come to a KEY meeting! Email KeystoneEmpowersYou@gmail.com to ask when the next meeting is.

 

City of North Ridgeville (Aurensen Road)

 

   

                                   Safe Routes to School Event                                                                      Aurensen Road Ribbon Cutting

 

        As the City of North Ridgeville has continued to increase its efforts in creating a healthy and safe environment for its residents, the Aurensen Road sidewalk has been beneficial in allowing community members to receive physical activity. Due to Aurensen Road being located near the center of town and being in walking distance to the City Hall, Police Station, Public Library, Safetyville, St. Peter’s Church Schools, and South Central Park, many Aurensen Road residents have been able to walk to the local amenities.
        Once the sidewalks on Aurensen Road were installed, the City of North Ridgeville hosted an Aurensen Road and Safe Routes to School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in September. At this event, 75 fifth graders were in attendance, along with multiple City Officials and residents. Additionally, using a trail camera, an estimated 300 persons have utilized the new sidewalks each month. To identify the public’s perception and usage for the sidewalks, a survey was sent out to the neighborhood residents and results showed that many persons have utilized the trail for bicycling, walking, and running and a few have self-reported an increase in physical activity.
        With the construction of the Cross Creek Subdivision, an additional 65 homes will have access to the sidewalk and the usage is expected to increase by 100 persons per month. While the City is committed to creating a walkable city for the residents, it is planning to collaborate with outside agencies to construct sidewalks along Avon Belden Road, Center Ridge Road, and Lear Nagle Road.

 

 North Ridgeville Senior Center - Finding a Matter of Balance

 

                                                           

                                                                                          New Senior Center Fitness Station

 

        

                                     Seniors on Fitness Station                                                                            Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

 

        For members of the North Ridgeville Senior Center, staying healthy and safe is an important priority for them in order to live their life to the fullest. As the Senior Center serves older adults in Lorain County every day, it is the center’s main priority to provide a fun and safe space for its members to exercise. With the funding through a mini grant from Lorain County Public Health, North Ridgeville Senior Center was able to install an adult fitness station, which includes exercise equipment that is specially designed to improve the user’s balance, coordination, and strength.
        To encourage seniors to utilize the adult fitness station, the North Ridgeville Senior Center has worked with outside agencies and organizations to host Walking and Balancing Challenges, four week classes which incorporates indoor and outdoor exercises that are designed to improve balance.
        For North Ridgeville senior, Jane Hughes, being able to live independently is a strong motivation for her to stay active and healthy. As Jane wants to continue enjoying the simple pleasure in life, she knows that it is important for her to be able to carry out everyday life skills and follow her normal routine, which includes taking the stairs every day.
        Being an active member at the North Ridgeville Senior Center, Jane became a strong participant in the recent Balance and Walking Challenges. Along with the excitement and social aspect that the challenges bring for her, Jane has found that the greatest reward is being able to improve her balance, coordination, and strength. The adult fitness station has improved Jane’s balance tremendously and has allowed her to perform her basic skills every day –“I have to walk up the stairs to go to my bedroom, and the stair exercises on the adult fitness station have allowed me to practice my balance and coordination to reduce my risk of falling.” In addition to her balance and coordination, Jane has observed progress in strengthening her upper body and improving her posture.
        Similar to Jane, many members at the North Ridgeville Senior Center have utilized the adult fitness stations regularly in order to improve their body’s strength and abilities. The Balance and Walking Challenges have continually served its purpose in allowing the seniors to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and then challenge themselves to improve their capabilities.
        If you want to hear on how you can stay healthy in North Ridgeville, attend a Heart and Sole meeting! Email NRHeartAndSole@gmail.com to receive information about the next upcoming meeting.

 

Oberlin Legion Field Community Garden - Eat Fresh Oberlin

 

 

                                                Garden Plot                                                                         Washing Stations for fruits & vegetables                 

 

                                              

                                                                                                               Pergola

 

        In Lorain County, residents are finding it easier to buy fruits and vegetables at corner stores, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. However, for some Lorain County residents, gardening their own fruits and vegetables in a community garden has allowed them to create their own food source, find peace and tranquility, and create long-lasting friendships.
        Specifically in Oberlin, Legion Field Community Garden, which is owned and operated by Zion Community Development Corporation, has provided a garden space for Lorain County residents to come together as a community to grow their own fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, peas, squash, tomatoes, and pumpkins. To make this garden even more rewarding for the Oberlin community, a portion of the produce is directly donated to Oberlin Community Service’s food pantry.
        In 2016, Zion Community Development Corporation was a recipient of a mini grant from the Lorain County Public Health. With the monies, Zion Community Development Corporation was able to improve the infrastructure at Legion Field Community Garden by building a fence, pergola, and adding a water station for the fruits and vegetables.
        Peter Crowley of Oberlin has been the ultimate gardener for the past five years at Legion Field Community Garden. Donating many hours of his time at the garden to assist in the up-take, and management, Peter has strengthened his spirituality and relationships amongst the fellow gardeners. For Peter, the gardening has been, “A way to be outside and connected with nature as it provides you a source of food.”
        Aside from being able to grow his own peas, which are a favorite amongst his children, Legion Field Community Garden has shown Peter the community aspect that exists in Oberlin. While all of the gardeners can decide how involved they want to be in the garden, the majority of the growers enjoy the social aspect of the community garden and all go the extra effort to assist in the daily maintenance at Legion Field. In fact, Peter even stated, “The community garden is more like a “cooperative garden”, here we are all able to learn from one another and help each other out. If you’re persistent, you can grow just about anything.”
        For the gardeners, Legion Field Community Garden serves as a space to grow food, find inspiration, learn new gardening techniques, and gain a sense of community. While the garden has been serving the community for the past seven years, it remains sustainable and will continue to provide a gardening outlet for the Oberlin residents.
        Do you want to increase your daily fruits and vegetable consumptions? Check out LiveHealthyLorainCounty.com/nutrition/fruit-veggie-101 to learn about the great health benefits of fruits and vegetables and locate local farmer’s markets and grocery stores near you!

 

City of Sheffield Lake (Ferndale Park)

 

                  

                                            Walking Trail                                                                                                  Hydration Station

 

                                   

                                                                                                               Skate Park

 

        After enhancing Ferndale Park by adding a hydration station, informational kiosks, a skate park, and a trail extension, the park’s attendance has greatly increased. There is currently no method of tracking usage, but the City Officials often observe and complete headcounts. It is estimated that 250 or more adults and 500 and plus youth have utilized the park’s new amenities. With the new phone app that was created, students and parents are able to access the school’s lunch menu and can identify the healthier options offered in the cafeteria. There is no current hard evidence from the app utilization, but from previous data it is evident that the app has heavy usage and sales in the healthier food choices have shown an increase. Additionally, since the app installation, the cafeteria’s lunch options have greatly improved by integrating healthy ingredients into the recipes.
        When the project was first completed, the park was successful in hosting Martial Arts classes. Roughly six classes were ran with about 25 youth participants. Unfortunately, the Marital Arts classes came to a halt when the contracted company relocated. Due to the classes being so successful in reaching the youth, the City is currently in the process of revisiting a similar class with a local company and plans to advertise it through public meetings and joint summer programs.
        From the great successes Ferndale Park has had from the new amenities, the mini grant has become a catalyst to improve the additional parks in Sheffield Lake. Currently, the City is not seeking any additional funding to improve Ferndale Park, but the plans moving forward are to eventually build a second basketball court. Additionally, the City is working with the Lorain County Metro Parks to extend the existing trail through the nearby Metro Park and develop Safe Routes to School.

 

Sheffield Lake City Schools

 

   

                            Hydration Station near School Cafeteria                                                            Hydration Station Tracker

 

        To allow the students, faculty, and staff at Sheffield Lake Schools to have easier access to stay hydrated throughout the day, hydration stations were installed with the help of a mini-grant from Lorain County Public Health. When applying for the grant, the plan was to add two hydration stations to the high school, but after positive feedback and excitement, the district was able to add 7 more throughout the entire school district. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 residents including students, employees, and residents have utilized the hydration stations. To promote the new stations, the students received free reusable water bottles that could be filled every time visiting the hydration station. To promote the stations, flyers and posters were distributed and hung throughout the schools to encourage drinking more water throughout the school day. Due to the station having a tracker for usage, the school district is able to determine how many plastic water bottles have been prevented from creating environmental waste due to the water station. Since the school checks the status of the filters regularly, they are able to also track the usage frequently.
        When writing the grant, the district expected to see a decrease in water bottle sales due to the students and staff having the accessibly to the free water fountains. However, the sales have actually increased since the installation. Since many times, the students and employees forget their water bottles at home, they often purchase a water in the cafeteria and then use the bottle to refill at the station once empty. Also, instead of having to purchase water tanks for the employee lounges, the staff are able to use the free hydration stations which has saved the district money.
        Overall, the hydration stations have been well received by not only the students and employees, but also the community members and parents of student athletes. Since the hydration stations have been strategically placed in the schools and walking paths, the student athletes have easy access to the free water and are able to stay hydrated during practice. On many occasions, parents have called and thanked the school for the hydration stations as they have allowed the students to stay safe and hydrated, and also allow the parents to cut down on the costs of having to buy water before practices. Additionally, the great benefits of the hydration stations have also caught the attention of many outside school districts and Sheffield Lake has been contacted by other schools to discuss the hydration stations and the positive outcomes it has had on the schools.

 

South Amherst (West Main Street)

 

   

                                                Walking Path                                                                                              Walking Path

 

        With the 2016 mini grant that South Amherst received, South Amherst Community Park was able to extend existing walking trail to 8/10 of a mile. Due to an erroneous estimate from a hired contractor, the park was unable to pave the trail with the funded monies. Instead, the trail was packed with gravel. Once South Amherst received a Healthy Living grant for 2017, the park was able to fully pave the trail. The only way attendance has been tracked has been through observations. The board is planning to observe more this summer by assigning the board members certain days to visit the park. From observations, it is estimated that attendance has increased 15% after the paving, which is a huge increase from the 1% that was using prior. The park’s attendance has been observed to be the highest during the early evening, and Saturday mornings during soccer season.
        Since 2016, South Amherst Community Park has taken effort to increase programming at the park. In June of 2016, the park hosted its first annual Corn Hole Tournament. For the upcoming months in 2017, the Park will be hosting the “Fit Walks Summer Series” for the month of September. Additionally, in September the park will be having a ribbon cutting ceremony to further promote the amenities in the park and will be hosting its second annual Corn Hole Tournament. All of the proceeds from the tournament will go directly to the park. To further encourage residents to use the park for physical activity, the Park Board is hoping to organize a weekly walking hour one day a week to allow residents to walk and socialize.
        With the help from the Healthy Living grant, South Amherst will be installing a hydration station in September. Once funds are made available, the Park Board would like to fill and pave the loop near the parking lot to complete the walking trail, add fitness stations that could be utilized by the wider population, and update and modernize the playground.