PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh Renewal Project, in partnership with the Plattsburgh City School’s Health Education Advisory Committee, is hosting a six-week health program to boost healthy activity and city beautification through a walking tour of all six city wards.
“I had the idea based on my knowledge that I needed a walking partner,” said Anita Bodrogi, project organizer for the ward walks and member of the Plattsburgh Renewal Project. “I love to exercise, walk or jog, but I do a lot better when I have a partner that I’m obligated to.”
“So, I thought maybe something like a group walk would get people to get out and exercise,” she said.
Even though the walks started July 21, the two-mile walks will occur daily Monday through Friday starting at 6 a.m. at different parks in each ward rain or shine for the next six weeks.
Both Bodrogi and her sister, Cynthya Spencer, will take part in each walk, showing the community what Plattsburgh has to offer when being looked at on foot.
“My sister and I walk around Plattsburgh, and it’s so beautiful,” Bodrogi said. “When you drive through it, you can miss it, but if you’re walking the streets, the architecture is really quite lovely, and there’s a lot unique structures, unique homes, and we would always appreciate them.”
“Because I’m part of the Plattsburgh Renewal Project, and one of our goals is trying to improve the quality of life for the people in Plattsburgh, this idea of getting out and appreciating what we have was very important to me,” she said.
Another thing that inspired Bodrogi to pitch the idea of a town-wide walk to the Plattsburgh Renewal Project was when two friends made the goal of walking every street in Plattsburgh. Bodrogi said she wasn’t sure if they did accomplish their mission but thought that it was a very clever idea.
When the time came for the group to discuss the matter, Spencer came up with the idea to call the walking-series the “ward walks,” walking through all six wards in Plattsburgh and meeting at six of the 17 designated parks in each ward in Plattsburgh to create a new healthy environment.
“People should walk because many studies have been done on exercise to show that walking gives the same benefit as jogging,” Bodrogi said. “This kind of exercise is perfect.”
Bodrogi said that walking is not only the cheapest type of exercise a person can do, but gives a person great psychological benefits and creates a way of getting to know neighbors, establishing an overall better and healthier community and potentially adding a new system to the town.
“One of the things we’re hoping to develop out of this walk is a construction of a walking school bus, which is an idea that’s been tried a lot in cities to encourage kids to get more exercise,” Bodrogi said. “If we can see how convenient it would be to where these bus stops could be, we could create a walking school bus.”
A walking school bus consists of a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.
By the research that the group has done so far, they’ve discovered that the longest point to the nearest school in Plattsburgh is 1.7 miles away, which is a 15 or 20 minute walk.
“We live in an incredibly walkable city,” Bodrogi said. “What the ward walk is trying to do is re-ignite that feeling in our community of being a walking city versus a driving city.”
A map of each walk and starting point can be found on the Plattsburgh Renewal Project’s Facebook page as well as the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department’s website.
To find out certain streets located in each ward, visit the City of Plattsburgh’s website at http://www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov/Departments/VoterDistricts.
For more information, contact Bodrogi at 917-699-5607 or visit the Plattsburgh Renewal Project’s Facebook page or the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department’s website.
“We’re keeping it simple to get going,” Bodrogi said. “Hopefully, it will grow into something that’s more inspiring to get people on their own two feet.”