City of Orrville holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for walking trail

Published 7:44 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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Officials from Orrville and Dallas County gathered with representatives from UAB’S Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center and members of the community Saturday morning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Keith High School.

The ceremony signified the opening of a 1/8-mile community walking trail valued at $30,000.

“We identified funds and worked with our partners here, including the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Dallas County Board of Education,” said Tiffany Osborne, Director of Community Engagement for MHRC. “We went through the bid process and identified a contractor who could do this walking path for us.”

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Osborne said the MHRC works hard to help individuals overcome barriers that are keeping them from being at their best health.

“This is something that’s readily accessible to the residents here in Orrville,” she said. “It’s a very short drive. As you can see, some of them can walk right across the street and take advantage of this walking path.”

According to Osborne, Alabama hovers near the bottom of national rankings when it comes to chronic diseases and inactivity.

“We want people getting out more and to take charge of their health so that we can lower those instances of chronic diseases,” Osborne said.

Osborne said Dallas County historically has been an underserved community with limited resources when it comes to health needs.

“That was one of the reasons we selected this area because we know Orrville is a very small community, but the people here, they matter,” she said. “We want healthy individuals, not just in the big cities. We want healthy individuals all across the state.”

She said when her team came to visit five years ago to conduct a community needs assessment and find out what ways the MHRC could help, one of the suggested she received from the community was adding a walking trail.

“When they said this is something they wanted, then we worked really hard to try and identify the correct players to pull together to make this happen for the community because if we know they’re asking for it, if the community is involved in it, then they’re more apt to take advantage of this resource available to them,” Osborne said.

Osborne said the Black Belt Community Foundation played a crucial role in the project’s process.

“We worked with them to advertise for this project,” she said. “They managed the whole bid process, and they actually dispersed the funds to the contractor that took care of this work.”

She added the Dallas County Board of Education and Dallas County Commission also assisted with the endeavor.

“This is their land, so we certainly have to have those conversations to make sure we are doing things correctly because we are on their property,” Osborne said. “We also know that Keith High School, which is adjacent to the walking path, they have a track team. This is a really good place for the track team to be able to work out and exercise. Even the students in the high school could come over here for physical education. That was so very important to have established and really good relationships with all of those partners because we can’t get it done without our partners.”

Anthony Lumpkin, Keith High School baseball and track coach, thanked the MHRC for their work on the project.

“We appreciate what UAB has done for us,” he said. “We’re going to use the track. The kids are already walking on it. We really appreciate it.”

District 4 Commissioner Jan Justice said the addition of the walking trail is great for the Orrville community.

“I am told a good many people use this track,” she said. “I think we need to have more events to bring attention to this track and use this track. We all need to get out and do more walking.”