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News Room: ENQUIRER: New walking path at St. E is collaborative effort

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By: Stephanie Salmons

In the works for around two years, a new walking path at St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Florence campus gives staff, visitors and the community a new, and safe, place to walk.

Physical therapist Debra Turner said the project was a joint venture between physical therapy, Target Health, hospital administration and the St. Elizabeth Florence Auxiliary.

It began with the development of an indoor loop for walking before transitioning to an outdoor path, she said.

“The main goal was to provide an area that was safe for our associates to walk so they would have a place to walk on their break or when their shifts were over,” Turner said.

It’s taken a couple of years to get the project off the ground, she said, because additional sidewalks were needed. Turner said the volunteer auxiliary were instrumental in providing the money for the additional sidewalks as well as signage.

Barbara Lewin of Lakeside Park, president of the St. Elizabeth Florence Auxiliary, said they were working closely with the physical therapy department who put in a request for the funds.

The auxiliary raises money through fundraisers as well as the hospital gift shop.

Turner said they raise money for “little things that could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars that is not in the traditional budget for the departments.”

On this chilly but bright Monday morning, a few members of the hospital’s PrimeWise program are prepared to walk the new path.

PrimeWise, which meets to walk every Monday morning, is a free membership program for adults 50 and older that provides programming throughout the year, coordinator Monica Braunwart f Burlington said.

Braunwart says she hopes to add more walking days in the future. “We’re going to build it up and get people healthier and healthier.”

The new path, she said, is a great opportunity to get PrimeWise members moving “and that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we wanted to start it up and make this opportunity available.”

PrimeWise member Betty Kling of Erlanger says she participates for the exercise “and there’s a little bit of social activity too.”

“I wanted to do walking for a long time, but never felt comfortable in the places that I could walk,” member Joy Meiman of Union said. “I never felt safe. And when this was offered, all of a sudden the light turned on.”

The trail is 0.4 miles one way and walkers loop back.

“This type of initiative that promotes health and wellness in the community fits in perfectly with our overall mission,” St. Elizabeth public relations manager Guy Karrick.

“We’re trying to keep people on sidewalks and out of parking lots and roads because we want (them) to be safe,” said Turner.

The path though, isn’t just for those at the hospital, she said. It’s open to the public because the hospital “belongs to the community.”

“We’re trying to make the hospital welcoming to the community,” Lewin said. “We want to bring in people who love our hospital. We don’t want them to just like it, we want them to love it.”

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