At an Oct. 9 Warrensburg Town Board meeting, Kathy Varney, Healthy Heart Program Coordinator for Glens Falls Hospital, reads ideas for boosting the town’s walkability and recreational opportunities, from a report she prepared as part of a project to encourage healthy lifestyles.
A project is underway to boost recreational opportunities in the hamlet of Warrensburg as well as to make the town as pedestrian-friendly as possible.
An initiative of Glens Falls Hospital’s “Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play” program, the project aims to boost Warrensburg residents’ physical activity and encourage healthy eating.
As an initial element of the project, Warrensburg was examined recently for its existing recreational and pedestrian resources, and the results underscore some conclusions that local people have already taken to heart: Warrensburg offers a pleasant environment for walking and bicycling, features a wide variety of recreational opportunities, and has ample open spaces and outstanding “sociability,” according to a report submitted to the town board this week.
The report includes three maps, one detailing recreational venues, another depicting pedestrian and bicycling amenities including sidewalks, trails and bicycle routes, and a third mapping public access to healthy foods.
Kathy Varney, Healthy Heart Program Coordinator for Glens Falls Hospital, presented the preliminary report and maps to the Warrensburg Town Board Oct. 9.
The hospital’s outreach program, funded by a state grant, has a goal of promoting healthy lifestyles while curbing diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Varney said Warrensburg was chosen as a leading municipality for the program because the town board members were open to the concept — and the town had so many existing attributes that offered potential for enhancement, she said.
“We want Warrensburg to serve as a model for healthier communities,” she said. “You guys can have the bragging rights.”
The initial phase of the Healthy Places project was to survey local residents and community leaders about their views on what improvements could be made to the town’s walkability and recreational offerings.
High priority for park development was the Frederick Flynn Memorial Park. Respondents suggested improving the boat launch, providing seating, and establishing a beach and a fishing area.
Those taking the survey also suggested adding amenities at the Morry Stein Park and Beach, as well as creating nature walkways at the base of Hackensack Mountain. People also proposed adding new boat access points along the Schroon River.
The concept of adding exercise devices in parks and along walking trails was also proposed.
While many areas were deemed amenable to walking, respondents identified Route 418 as particularly dangerous for pedestrians, with Main, Hudson, Prospect and Sanford streets — as well as Schroon River Road — not far behind on the list.
Other suggestions for improving walkability in town generally, include establishing more signage and kiosks to provide information about the town’s amenities and event, providing more seating, benches, and water receptacles, as well as improving sidewalks and beautifying the streetscape.
Varney told the board the next step is to develop a plan by Jan. 1 that details specific enhancements.
Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty praised Varney for her work, and said that town leaders would be developing such a plan.
“A lot of hard work went into this,” Geraghty said.
“There are a lot of neat ideas in this report,” Town Board member Linda Marcella added.