A total of 11 schools in the county school system either already have an on-campus walking trail or have plans in place for one. A number of grants and fundraisers have made the paths possible.
According to Andrea Lockerby, coordinated school health director with Bradley County Schools, Prospect, Hopewell and Oak Grove elementary schools have existing walkways on their campuses.
Four schools have received Healthy Community Initiative funds for their projects. The HCI grants are funds made possible by the proceeds from the sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital several years ago. Lockerby said these are in addition to grants received from a Coordinated School Health Project grant to fight diabetes which is partially funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Health. Those school recipients include paved trails at Valley View, Taylor and Black Fox elementary schools, as well as Lake Forest Middle School. Taylor plans a dedication of their project on Monday, May 16.
Kim Fisher, principal at Black Fox, took the first walk on the new FOX TROT trail after the paving was finished last week on May 11. The “mini greenway,” which encircles a recreational area, is almost a half-mile long.
“This is going to add a whole new dimension to our campus,” the excited principal said. “TROT stands for ‘Targeting Recreational Opportunities Together.’ We want to encourage our students, as well as parents who come to watch their children play at this area that ... just as reading needs to be a lifestyle, exercise needs to become a lifestyle as well.” She said the new campus greenway will enhance their current partnerships with other organizations that promote healthy living.
According to Lockerby, additional schools on the list to be paved in the near future include Waterville and Park View elementary schools, and an expansion of Oak Grove’s existing Freedom Trail. An Eat Well, Play More Department of Health grant is in place to install paved trails at North Lee Elementary and Walker Valley High School.
“My goal is to offer a place for our students, staff and community to be physically active,” Lockerby said. “It not only improves academics, but improves the lives of people in Bradley County.”
On a personal note she said, “Our Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway has made me become a runner. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have found my new hobby!”
Congratulations to these schools on their recognition of the advantages of walking and running. Their participation enhances the experience of our Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway!