Memorial Health Foundation received a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Implementation Grant in the amount of $40,070.15, and a $5,000 Community Spaces Grant from the Union Pacific Foundation, to help construct a walking path on the south side of the Memorial Hospital campus. The walking path will be open to the public.
Several years ago, Memorial Health System’s Harold Courtois, chief executive officers, signed a pledge to “affirm our commitment to taking on new opportunities that provide greater access to healthy lifestyles for our patients and employees.
“We believe it is our responsibility and our duty as a health care organization to improve the lives of the population we serve, and encourage strong community norms for healthier living,” he said. “We are willing to learn more about making healthy environment and healthy policy changes to help all employees, patients, and community members live longer and have better quality lives.”
“The Quality of Life Coalition (in Abilene) deserves the credit for bringing the Pathways grant to Dickinson County,” said Kim Stivers, MHS director of community affairs and the foundation. “They have been wonderful to work with, and I know there are many business and organizations in the community who have and will continue to benefit from their work.”
The Union Pacific Community Spaces Grant was a bonus for the project.
“I knew the Union Pacific Foundation was accepting grant applications, and after reviewing the criteria, I felt like it was a great fit for what we had been working on through the Pathways grant. We are just so thankful for the opportunity to bring a new location for walking and exercise to our community,” Stivers said.
“We are very excited to get the walking path constructed,” Courtois said. “It’s a beautiful lot, in an excellent location, and we hope the community embraces it, uses it, and helps us to continue to make it a beautiful destination for healthy community activity.”
Memorial Health System is nestled in a quiet neighborhood on the east side of Abilene. There are many homes in the area, and very few sidewalks. Memorial Health System, through a work site wellness plan, encourages staff to get up and move during the day.
“This walking path will provide a safe place for the community, employees and patients to walk and get exercise,” Stivers, said.
The funds from the Pathways and Union Pacific grant will be used for phase one of the concrete and construction of the walking trail.
Phase one consists of the main loop of the trail, and one ADA accessible ramp for entrance to the lot and trail. As more funds become available, additional walkways, landscaping, and visitor enhancements will be added.
Memorial Health Foundation will provide an additional $7,000 from donations to the walking path project, and plans to continue to raise funds through donations, grants, and memorials to fund additional enhancements for the area.