HOISINGTON – Hoisington city and school officials joined representatives from Barton County, the State of Kansas, local volunteers and school children Wednesday morning for the dedication of and ribbon cutting for a new high-visibility crosswalk near Hoisington’s Activity Center. The installation means residents on foot and on bicycle will be able to safely access the center and encourage healthier activity all around.
The Governor’s Council on Fitness granted Barton County Health Department project funds for the crosswalk through the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction grant, said Janel Rose. Rose, who is the health educator for the Barton County Health Department, coordinated the effort.
“The high visibility crosswalk to Hoisington Activity Center was identified as one of the measures that would increase safety of residents and students going to the center daily,” she said. Grant funding was also used to develop the sidewalk design along Main Street south of U.S. 56 in Ellinwood, as well as to support the Walking School Bus program in Great Bend’s Unified School District 428.
The Barton County Road and Bridge Department painted the crosswalk, Rose said. She also commended the Health for Life Coalition through Clara Barton for its help with this and other projects in Hoisington.
Attending were Dr. Joyce Ellis of Fort Hays State University representing the Governor’s Council on Fitness at the celebration, County Administrator Phil Hathcock, Hoisington City Administrator Jonathan Mitchell, USD 431 Superintendent Bill Lowry, Clara Barton Hospital Administrator Jim Blackwell, County Engineer Barry McManaman, County Works Director Darren Williams, Hoisington Recreation Commission Director Chris Kinman, Be Well Barton County task force members, GPS Kids Club students and others.
Also addressing those gathered were FHSU’s Ellis who spoke of her passion for physical activity and how this new installation is a wonderful improvement. Ellis, who is a former high school physical education teacher, said the project caught the attention of the Governor’s Council.
She said it fit the group’s mission: “To encourage increased physical activity, healthy diets and tobacco use prevention by sharing information with Kansans and partnering with businesses, schools and individuals to promote healthy lifestyles.”
In addition, Hoisington’s Mitchell noted how the crosswalk fits into the city’s ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian access.
The ceremony concluded with a ribbon cutting including all those present and refreshments afterwards in the center.