One of the PATH project markers along the Elizabeth J. 'Binky' Poundstone Memorial Riverwalk Trail.

Purple arrows around town aim to put residents on a ‘PATH’ to a more active lifestyle

BUCKHANNON – Have you seen purple arrows painted on sidewalks around town?

Those are markers for the city of Buckhannon’s PATH project.

The Physically Active Transportation Hub project will create four paths that equal 5K – five kilometers or 3.1 miles in length – with markers on the sidewalk so runners can know how far they’ve run. The arrows are also designed to give them a tour of various points in Buckhannon.

Callie Cronin Sams, information coordinator and grant writer for the City of Buckhannon, said the idea for the project was a collaboration between Create Buckhannon, Almost Heaven CrossFit, now operating as move304, and the city.

Path Network Fall 2020 Map

“It’s was probably about a year ago when the idea started floating around, but the city had been approached by some folks from Almost Heaven CrossFit about how it’d be nice to have some markers on sidewalks and trails to help people who are interested in fitness in general, know how far they’ve run and just kind of be a visual cue as well while you’re out running or walking or biking,” Sams said. “We also talked with Create Buckhannon and, of course, they are always involved with projects that help make the community and especially the downtown area a more vibrant, fun and healthy place to be.”

Sams said the director of Public Works Jerry Arnold talked to the street department and they agreed to place the markers throughout Buckhannon.

“Jerry talked with our streets and parks department, and they thought it was a great idea and the city council did as well,” Sams said. “The thought is to have 5K routes that all connect to downtown, especially Jawbone Park and Stockert Youth & Community Center, and then go out into different directions to make a loop out into different neighborhoods.”

The project was paid for by $4,993.20 from the Take Back Our Health, Physical Activity Community grant program from West Virginia University’s College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

“The first path that has been painted goes to Riverwalk Park and back, and it’s in that downtown area,” Sams said. “The second one will be venturing into North Buckhannon, and over to North Buckhannon Riverview Park and then we hope to also be able to identify, map and paint routes that go over to West Buckhannon, and to South Buckhannon, but we’re focusing on the Riverwalk and North Buckhannon first.”

The grant money also paid for signs that will be posted in Jawbone Park, the Poundstone Riverwalk Park, North Buckhannon Park and Stockert Youth & Community Center that will have brochures and maps of the routes.

“I think it’s just a great way to both be active and see different parts of the community and connect our downtown to the vibrant parks, traveling through different neighborhoods and Buckhannon,” Sams said.

Sams said she hopes people see the marks, look into the program and become be inspired to get active.

“People who might not have been aware might see the markings, they might want to learn more, they find out what it is and maybe it inspires them to get active,” Sams said. “For people who are already active, this will just be a nice way to help them both stay active and have an easy to follow route around town that can help them either build up to a 5K if that’s your goal, or just be a convenient way to exercise.”

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