EATON — New sidewalk has been installed on Washington Jackson Road in front of the YMCA and Kettering Health Network Facility, connecting to Seven Mile Park. Work was completed on the project on Friday, Sept. 6.
The sidewalk installation was a collaboration between Preble Trails, the Preble County Youth Foundation, and Kettering Health Network. The project was funded by Kettering Health Network.
According to Preble Trails Committee Chair Dan Schmidt, in January the organization decided one of their main goals for the year was to complete the sidewalk in front of the YMCA in order to connect with the soccer fields at Seven Mile Park.
Preble Trails and the Preble County Youth Foundation have an existing partnership, so Schmidt reached out to Youth Foundation Chairman Bill Dues, who got them connected with Kettering Health Network.
They set up a meeting with all parties involved, including the City of Eaton. Now, nearly a year later, the project is completed.
“The citizens of Eaton are now able to go from the north end of town to the south end of town on some type of paved trail connecting the city. For us, it is a huge deal and a huge accomplishment and a big shout out to Kettering for their leadership and involvement,” Schmidt said.
“[The sidewalk] was a missing link in the community. We have beautiful sidewalks basically everywhere in the City of Eaton. Connecting the park to the YMCA was a big deal to us. A lot of people have kids that play soccer and use Seven Mile Park. They maybe drop that kid off at soccer practice and go to the YMCA for a workout and they’re driving back and forth or maybe running on the road.
“For us, it was a big deal to complete [the sidewalk], help minimize any danger there, and also to complete it for the whole city.”
According to Dues, when the Youth Foundation were approached with the project they saw the need and felt an “obligation” to the City of Eaton to finish the sidewalk.
“It seemed like a perfect idea. Since we have a great relationship with Kettering Health Network we connected Preble Trails with them and asked them to support our partner with getting this finished. Kettering, having been an incredible partner with the Eaton Community, didn’t have any trouble agreeing to help Preble Trails get this project finished,” Dues said.
He added, in the past, members of the YMCA have mentioned the benefits of and their interest in a sidewalk in front of the facility.
Youth Foundation Executive Director Alexa Joyce said, “In short, it is a good example of the collaboration of different partners in the community to provide a safe way to get families outdoors exercising.”
For Todd Anderson, Executive Vice President of Finance and Clinical Integration Strategy with Kettering Health Network, it is important for Kettering Health Network to partner with the Youth Foundation and Preble Trails in this way to increase the safety of the area and promote wellness in Preble County.
For Anderson, this is another way for Kettering Health Network to continue their partnership with the Preble County Community — a partnership which has existed for more than 15 years.
“When we heard about an opportunity bringing additional sidewalks along Washington Jackson Road, it was great to hear that was going to be utilized as a great path to improve the safety, as well as promote additional health and wellness in the community,” he said.
“Along that road, which is a very busy road, there is a park that is just a few blocks down from where the Kettering Health Network Healthcare facility is. We obviously saw [the sidewalks] as an opportunity to partner in health, wellness, and safety in the community.”
He added, “The health and safety of the community is very important to us and promoting wellness is also very important to us. It is great to see the community growing and to have activities in [Seven Mile Park] that promote health and wellness.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH