St. Johnsville gets first of several sidewalk trails in county

Signs were installed in the village of St. Johnsville last week to mark out the first of several wal

Signs were installed in the village of St. Johnsville last week to mark out the first of several walking trails to be established in Montgomery County.

The county’s Public Health Department is developing sidewalk trails in several villages and the city of Amsterdam as part of the state Health Department’s Healthy Communities program. Signs featuring a muscular heart character wearing red sneakers are being installed at starting points. Other signs bearing motivational messages are being posted along the way.

County public health educator Debbie Voght said St. Johnsville’s trail was completed Monday and public works crews are expected to start the next trail soon in Fort Plain.

The program is off to a rough start, though: The trail start sign at the corner of Washington and East Main streets in St. Johnsville was smashed beyond recognition Monday and unreadable.

State Health Department statistics show a high percentage of people in Capital Region counties are overweight, none more so than Montgomery County, with an estimated 67.3 percent obesity rate.

The program, Voght said, is aimed at making it easier for people to get some exercise.

The signs include distances marking out a quarter mile, a half-mile, the start and the finish.

“We’re hoping it will make them get out and get walking,”

Voght said staff went to the different places to scout out decent walks in central areas devoid of large hills.

The signs are being paid for with a $34,000 grant from the state Health Department. A total of 50 counties took advantage of the grants, according to spokesman Jeffrey W. Hammond.

The program is aimed at making it easier for local health departments to target physical activity and nutrition objectives considered priorities by the state.

Other activities being funded with the grants include providing sports equipment for schools and communities, installing pedestrian safety lights, and improving access to fruits and vegetables.

Voght said the walking trails are also expected to be added in Canajoharie, Fonda and Amsterdam.

Categories: Schenectady County

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