Thursday, October 22, 2015

National organization highlights Columbia Borough for making walking easier

The National Physical Activity Society—a nonprofit organization promoting public health approaches and collaboration to create active communities—has recognized Columbia, Lancaster County, in their "Stories from Small Towns" report. The report is part of a project to demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America's thousands of small towns and not just its big cities.

The society's report was particularly impressed with Columbia's Susquehanna River Park, with four acres now refitted with a trail system and a new building with educational center. The borough obtained several grants to fund this project, including from DCNR.

From the report:
Several parks in the borough of
Columbia were run down, and a
master plan identified the need for
improvements. Mayor Leo Lutz
started revitalizing, purchasing
more land for the park system. One
example is the Susquehanna River
Park, four acres now refitted with a
trail system and a new building with
educational center. The borough
obtained several grants to fund this
project.

Another project was carried out
amidst concerns from residents,
who thought the new basketball
courts and play apparatus would be
destroyed. Residents came around
to the idea and now even support
the new park projects.
The important aspect seemed to be letting them have their say and be heard by the town leaders.
The borough’s changes have taken place over 12 years. Columbia was listed as one of the 20 best small towns to visit in 2014 by Smithsonian Magazine and in the same year among the top 16 small Pennsylvania cities by Cities Journal.

Key Lessons
● Funding can be cobbled together from multiple places. Columbia obtained Urban
Enhancement Funding from the county, along with funds from the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection.

● Involve everyone you can think of, from the very beginning. The more people and the more public, the better your chances of success.

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1 comment:

  1. Leo the Great always taking credit for work others do. When you look at the entire picture, what really has the Great One done for Columbia? He is not sticking up for our town for anything other than his own agenda

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