Grantee Blog 2020

Planning Ahead: Future River Trail Goals

When we began this grant project earlier this year we weren’t sure how much we would be able to accomplish due to the pandemic. Well the pandemic is still ongoing, but as we look back on what we accomplished and plan for the future, we’re proud of where we’re at!

First, we were able to walk the trail, work out the best places for people to see signs on the trail, and decide on the final number of signs that should ultimately go up. (Four, one at each entrance to the trail so they are easy to see and use for people unfamiliar with the trail.)

Different scenarios for what information people would find useful to see on the signs were discussed until the final decision was made: they would include directions to buildings that are open to the public and within 1-5 blocks of the trail (especially ones that most residents will need to use at one time or another like the local hospital, library, and city hall).

To encourage even more physical activity for people walking the trail, videos displaying standing exercises that can be done anywhere (whether there is grass to work on or not) were developed. They are now posted on our new River Walk website page (pictured above) and accessible via QR codes on the signs. This ensures that we can update the videos as needed (something that wouldn’t be possible if the QR codes linked directly to the YouTube videos themselves).

We even found a company to design/install the signs for us! They were able to create drafts of the signs to bring to the City for edits/approval before installation. The Elizabeth River Trail is owned by the City of Elizabeth so we need to get the City’s permission to install the signs along the trail. With all of the City’s Departments focused on getting Elizabeth residents vaccinated and helping Ida victims recover, this (understandably) isn’t a priority for them at the moment.

So, moving ahead our future goals are to continue having discussions with the City until we’re at a time/place that the signs can be officially installed. From our experience working with other municipalities on sign projects we know this may be a several months down the road. But with everything done on our end as much as possible, we’re confident that we’ll see signs along the River Trail in the future.

About the Grantee

The Gateway Family YMCA

The Gateway Family YMCA (TGFY) is a community-based organization rooted in Christian principles and committed to building healthy lives through programs that strengthen minds, bodies and spirits for people of all ages, religions and cultures. The leader of the Shaping Elizabeth coalition, TGFY is committed towards supporting the health, nutrition and physical activity of all Elizabeth residents.