Step Forward, Erlanger
Northern Kentucky Health Department, 2388 Grandview Ave., Building A, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017, (859) 363-2080
Once upon a time, within the memories of many of our citizens, Americans did many of their daily errands on foot. But sprawl and the trend toward residential-only suburbs reshaped our citiesand our livesto favor or even require driving. Step Forward, Erlanger is an example of projects around the country that aim to reclaim communities for pedestrians.
Step Forward combines one-on-one efforts to encourage people to get more physical exercise with ambitious government-sponsored projects to make sure that theyll have safe places to do it. By inventorying how walkable Erlanger is and then working together to remove the obstacles identified, the project partners want to restore the option of walking to school, church, work, or the store. The main objective is to fight the epidemic of obesity and thereby improve the health of Kenton Countians. The pleasant side benefits include fostering a feeling of neighborliness and the spirit of community.
The components of Step Forward include
The Step Forward project partners include the Erlanger city government, the Northern Kentucky Health District, Northern Kentucky University, and the Erlanger Church Association as well as the local planning commission, school system, Chamber of Commerce, and public library. Julie Sparks of the Health Department stresses that such broad community participation was key to overcoming reservations and getting the project up and moving. The city of Erlanger only has about 17,000 residents, she points out. So this isnt a program where you need a big-city budget to invest. Its about the people, its about the partnership, and its about wanting to do it.