Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Inspiring, Sharing, and Promoting Health and Wellness; A Community Effort

Parks, green spaces and trails are wonderful areas to feel inspired.  They are areas to relax, run, ski, skate, sled, play, bike, and be healthy anytime of the year.  We are fortunate as a community to have an abundance of neighborhood parks, community facilities, and recreational opportunities promoting active lifestyles.  The continued development of these parks and green spaces is a shared community effort.  Development occurs through organizational partnerships, public feedback, observation of usage, and generous donations and contributions toward park projects.

We have over 150 acres of park space and 21 parks within city limits.  An additional 175 acres of beautiful rolling terrain and hardwood forest is located just south of town; at the site of an old capped landfill.  However, this site now has a new purpose offering a fun and healthy pursuit; it has become the home of a mile long loop for a single track bike trail.  The Single Track Trail located just south of town (address:  N1985 Dump Road) had an initial one mile loop roughed in late last fall.  This effort was made possible through collaboration with Antigo Bike & Ski Club members.  We will be working at parking lot development and additional trail loops this fall.  The scenery is truly breathtaking and the new park is one of my favorites.  The address may not have the most appealing name “Dump Road”, but I like to think you can “dump” your daily trials, leave your work stress at the gate, and decompress with a great ride on a beautiful and scenic trail.

The established Springbrook Trail, which includes a combination of paved trail, rough trail, and 1,800 feet of boardwalk (within city limits), is utilized by both our community and visitors to the area.  Healthy opportunities abound on, or just off, the Springbrook Trail.  A 9-hole disc golf course sponsored and funded by local businesses is a great way to involve the entire family in a fun and healthy outdoor pursuit.  You can also stop at Duffek Island (located just off of the boardwalk) and enjoy a pack lunch with your family while young children play on a newly installed play structure.  Both the play structure and gazebo were made possible through donated funds.

The winter months provide an opportunity to cross-country ski, snow shoe, or walk the Springbrook Trail.  Additionally, you can view the beautiful and creative community Christmas cards and greetings (located along the south-west section of the trail in the winter month) inspired by local businesses, individuals, and groups.  The dog sled races in February also offer a unique use of the trail system and incorporate another outdoor recreational pursuit utilizing the parks.

The Springbrook Trail will act as a pivotal connection for the signed and designated bike route.  The signed and designated bike route connects people to places through the use of existing roads and trails.  This project is in the very initial stages, but has already received generous community support.  The Antigo Optimists have funded the sign posts and each sign was donated by an individual, group, organization or business (check our website for a list of donors / sponsors: www.antigo-city.org/rec1).  The bike route will promote our local amenities providing safe connections to shopping, schools, facilities, trails, parks, restaurants, and businesses while additionally generating tourism and stimulating economic development.

The development of the Peaceful Valley Park, which includes a warming house and playground, future pavilion construction, tree plantings, and bench placement have been made possible because of donations and contributions from our community.  Development of the park has inspired community groups and businesses to offer unique community programming within the park and work collaboratively to create enriching experiences for all ages during all seasons.

The new (approximately 17 acre and completely fenced) dog park with a separate small dog area is a great way for you and your pet to release some energy.  It is located just off the Highway 64 bypass (address:  2000 Hwy 64).  This community amenity was made possible through a generous donation from an anonymous donor.  Additionally, there was an organized group of pet owners within the community that showed a strong and vested interest in the park, and helped guide the direction for the initial plan.  We hope to continue to improve and add to this new park in the form of benches, tables, shade structures, dog agility stations and access to drinking water for the pets.

Physical park connections such as trails and routes get us outside and help keep us active.  However, the physical is one component to staying active and feeling well.  There are also social connections and networking opportunities that allows us to stay updated on relevant activities, interests, and possibly expose us to new opportunities and new experiences.  Sharing information about community resources, activities, programs and park projects strengthens our community, and helps steer the direction of our parks, projects, and programs.

There are a variety of ways community members can stay connected to our community resources and the various programming that is offered year round.  Print publications, radio, community websites, social media, and just casual conversation all work together to promote our community and its programs.

Community support keeps our parks full of play opportunities and our green spaces green.  Community support has created beautiful facilities, necessary park improvements and well utilized and relevant programs providing healthy opportunities year round.  In summary, our parks would not be possible without the community support, volunteer efforts, and organizational partnerships and continued individual participation and involvement.

We believe in providing our community with inspiration to live a healthy lifestyle; providing resources to facilitate the pursuit of activities and wellness; fostering relationships that parlay our local resources and promote our local amenities.  We also believe in sharing; sharing our goals and vision with the community about healthy opportunities and activities that create a desirable place to live and a desirable place to visit.

Fostering positive relationships helps our programs, our parks, and our community, grow in a unified direction, which leverages our resources and subsequently accomplishes great things.

Sarah Repp
City of Antigo Parks & Recreation

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