June 27, 2019
Your day in Downtown Springfield is going great. The food you just ate near Park Central Square was fantastic. You decide to walk down to the shops on Walnut Street while your food digests. Or maybe you want to check out the Brewery District. Now you have a dilemma.
Do you drive your car to the next location, or do you make the trip by foot or wheels? A new partnership between the Downtown Springfield Association and the City of Springfield will help you answer that question.
The DSA has been chosen to receive one of more than 20 Community Change Micro Grants awarded by America Walks for use in 2019. DSA is using the funding to team up with the City and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to promote active transportation downtown. Just look for the signs.
Throughout downtown, street signs will encourage visitors to explore downtown without moving their cars from place to place. The signs will include an estimate of how long it will take them to walk to their favorite destinations.
“The authentic character of our historic buildings and the concentration of 60 restaurants, 20 pubs and clubs, two dozen retailers, 16 movie screens and five live theatre venues have created a very walkable and enjoyable experience for our residents, workers and guests,” Rusty Worley, executive director of the DSA, said. “We are excited to partner with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Public Works and (the) City of Springfield Public Information Office on this new program to encourage everyone to explore our great public spaces and local businesses. DSA is grateful for America Walks’ recognition of Center City’s progress and its support for enhancing walkability.”
Active transportation is good for you. According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, walking is a simple way to improve your health. Just 30 minutes of walking three times a week has been shown to burn calories, lower your blood sugar, improve immunity and increase life span.
The Community Change grant program supports local efforts to create safe, accessible and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active for all community members. Since its beginning in 2015, this grant program has provided funds for a variety of projects demonstrating the creativity and passion of walking champions across the US.
Downtown Springfield was selected from more than 600 applications for projects that demonstrate the passion, creativity and commitment of local walking champions. With support from partners including the Juliet AShby Hillman Foundation, Lyft, the Missouri Health Foundation, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, and WalkBoston, 20 projects will be supported in 2019.
Awardees will work with America Walks and other members of the Every Body Walk! Collaborative to successfully complete their projects and share their lessons with other community change agents. The projects and programs work to improve walkability. The results of each grant will have a positive change on many areas of that community.
So how do you solve that dilemma? Those Walnut Street shops are just a two-minute walk from Park Central Square. The Brewery District is a leisurely five-minute stroll. Why not leave your car where it is and visit both!
Want more information about Downtown Springfield and active transportation, visit itsalldowntown.com/walk. For more information about America Walks visit www.americawalks.org.