GoCO Makes Major Grant for Lamar Loop

Emily Nieschburg Addresses Amache Farms Gathering

Emily Nieschburg Addresses Amache Farms Gathering

There’s a lot of work to be done to start the 7.3 mile Lamar Loop, a walking trail that will encompass most of the city, but now the money is there to get the job moving.

Emily Nieschburg, coordinator for Healthy Places in Lamar and LiveWell Prowers County, said the Summit meeting at Amache Farms on Thursday, June 18 will be a starting point for new developments for a healthier community.  She added, the Summit is a unique opportunity in our community to not only develop change but to participate in that change to create a healthier Prowers County!

JJ Folsom from PUMA

JJ Folsom from PUMA

After several introductory remarks from Nieschburg and J.J. Folsom, Vice President of PUMA, Progressive Urban Management Associates, relating to how a healthy community can help foster its economic development, Nieschburg turned the meeting over to Anne Marie Crampton, Lamar City Council member.  “Healthy Places has given some specific focus to the needs of the community for walking trails and the proposed Lamar Loop,” she told the morning gathering of about 30 persons.  Crampton said the cost of building the 7.3 mile paved walking path was not within the budget of the city, but funding had been made available, she informed the audience, “We’ve received word that the project will be funded to almost one million dollars from a Paths to Park Grant from GoCO, Greater Outdoors Colorado.  Thanks go out on behalf of Emily Nieschburg, Rick Akers from the Lamar Parks and Recreation Department and the Lamar City Council for making this come to pass.”  She added that some additional funding from Healthy Places grants will bring the plans for the Loop to reality.

Anne Marie Crampton Makes Announcement Regarding GoCO Grant

Anne Marie Crampton Makes Announcement Regarding GoCO Grant

The announcement was met with applause, cheers and some tears.  Nieschburg, in a very happy and emotion filled voice, thanked everyone who was involved with making the grant a reality.  She outlined some of the discussions and projects that the rest of the day would include.  Nieschburg noted that by the end of the meeting, the next grant application to be sought and the next project for development would be outlined.

Earlier, she and PUMA director, JJ Folsom, provided a brief overview of how local efforts from area residents would be able to transform the community, taking Lamar from the bottom of the barrel for obesity assessments in Colorado and move in a better direction.  Folsom said the past year he’s spent in Lamar was focused on the physical aspect of the city’s infrastructure for outdoor exercises such as walking or biking.  He noted a 2009 study that showed the state spent $1.6 billion on disease and obesity control and highlighted similar cost analysis studies that correlated healthier lifestyles with savings on medical costs.

“We’ve seen studies showing that the national trend for millennials, the 18-34 age group will seek out walkable towns as a residence choice.  Businesses seeking to locate to a community will study health and exercise outlets for future employees and studies have shown that a healthier employee group offers tremendous savings on health care costs,” he explained.

(GoCO Update):

This grant, along with the 37 other grants just awarded by GOCO, supports Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado Beautiful initiative by identifying and filling critical gaps in connectivity for trails and open spaces, and GOCO’s new “Protect, Connect, Inspire” strategic plan, which focuses on land preservation, trails, and encouraging more youth to get outdoors.

GOCO is presently seeking applicants for its new Inspire Initiative, which offers between $1 million to $5 million in grants to selected communities to encourage kids to have more outdoor experiences. The program focuses on creating outdoor destinations like parks, improving access to outdoor location through new or improved trails, and expanding existing youth programs that introduce kids to the great outdoors. For more information on the initiative, visit goco.org/inspire.

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

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