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Beloit wants to stretch its legs

Since December 2010, members of the Beloit Community Organization Inc. have been trying to find ways to effectively use the city’s land and buildings. The organization now has plans to use land for an upcoming project — a walking trail.

With other trails placed in Orrville and throughout Dallas County, Beloit Community Organization chief executive officer Ed Braxter, wants the Dallas County Commission to endorse its vision of a trail so it can take part in a $75,000 recreational grant available through ADECA.

Braxter said he is looking for the trail to cost around $25,000. Any other portion of the grant, Braxter said, would be used on the entire project.

“We want the commission to endorse the grant,” Braxter said. “We’re hoping it (the trail) would be done as quick as possible because it’s needed now.”

Braxter said the idea of a walking trail had been passed around by the organization for a while.

“It was initially thought of to find ways to utilize buildings and land in the hands of the Beloit Community Organization Incorporated,” Braxter said. “This is just one project of many projects that will soon be performed.”

The trail, Braxter said, would be beneficial to the community, and offer a safer environment for individuals to walk.

“I saw older people trying to walk around a dangerous highway (here) in the morning and I don’t think that’s safe for anyone,” Braxter said. “It’s contributing to public health and community relations. It’s getting people out.”

Strategic Alliance for Health project coordinator Kathi Needham said safe walking paths in rural areas are “becoming increasingly more important in the quest for improved health.”

“We live in a rural area where half our county population lives in the country, or on a dirt road, no street lights, sidewalks or neighbors,” Needham said. “It would be wonderful if everyone in Dallas County had a well-lighted, safe walking path in their neighborhood … it isn’t necessary to purchase fancy exercise equipment or join fitness clubs … they (resident) can begin walking five minutes, twice a day and work their way up, setting personal goals as they become more physically able.”

Braxter sent out a letter of request for endorsement to the commission on Tuesday.
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