The distance walking project is designed to encourage residents to take the first steps to a healthier, more active community by stepping out their front door. Get Fit Franklin will provide residents with pre-measured and marked walking routes in an effort to increase the level of physical activity among the city’s residents. All routes use existing sidewalk networks where available,
In the 2011 Franklin Tomorrow Vision Fair process, the citizens participating said their number one strategy for the future of Franklin was to see implementation of the city’s adopted Greenways and Open Space Master Plan and Streetscape. The second top priority was to encourage continued development of connected greenways and trails for walking and bicycling.
“Interestingly enough, similarly worded strategies appeared in the top five in four other categories during the Vision Fair process,” said Kathie Moore, Franklin Tomorrow Board of Directors president. “Through the Vision Fair process we also became aware of the need to address health and well-being as a component of our community, which led to a series of Healthier Communities discussion groups. It was from those, as well as our Breakfast with the Mayors series, that our relationship with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee was strengthened and resulted in this partnership.”
“As part of our commitment to wellness, BlueCross is proud to partner with Franklin Tomorrow on the Get Fit Franklin initiative,” said Scott Karner, large group account executive for BlueCross. “Engaging our communities to lead healthier, more active lifestyles is an important step in addressing the trends of obesity and other serious health issues, and the associated rising costs for care.”
A Web site is under construction at www.getfitfranklintn.org. Here participants will register for the program, which will allow them to receive t-shirts and other promotional materials during the kick-off walk, tentatively set for Nov. 17 at Pinkerton Park, with Franklin Mayor Ken Moore.
Initial routes will focus on three areas of the city, said Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow executive director, who has worked with Franklin Streets, Parks, Police and Administration Departments to identify routes in the areas of Fieldstone Farms/Williamson County Rec Center, Downtown Franklin, and McKay’s Mill/East Franklin/Carothers Parkway.
“These areas feature existing sidewalk networks with very walkable routes for beginners, but also interconnect and provide access to Franklin and Williamson County park facilities, as well as other trail networks,” Tate said. “These routes are just the first we have identified, with a specific focus on safety for participants.”
As the http://www.getfitfranklintn.org/ Web site continues to develop participants will be able to add their fitness routes, as well as join walking groups in their community.
Statistics show the average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.
Walk Score (www.walkscore.com) is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. Franklin has a walk score of 33, while the 33 largest cities in Tennessee have an average Walk Score of 30. The most walkable cities in Tennessee are Knoxville, Cookeville, and Memphis. The least walkable cities are Brentwood, Spring Hill, and La Vergne.
“I support this important initiative by Franklin Tomorrow and commend their efforts in starting such a worthwhile program,” said Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. “My wife Linda and I are avid walkers and we urge all citizens to take advantage of our many walkways across the city and the Get Fit Franklin program.”
Other community partners for this event include the City of Franklin, BancorpSouth, Middle Tennessee Electric Customers Care, Inc., Franklin Special School District, the Williamson County Health Department, Williamson County Health Council, The Tennessean, Williamson County Parks & Recreation, YMCAs of Middle Tennessee, Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, the Downtown Franklin Association, The TMA Group, and various other business and non-profit organizations.
For more information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director, (615) 794-0998.