WELD COUNTY, Colo. - With $100,000, Weld County hopes to improve the quality of life for more than 250,000 people.
The fund, from Kaiser Permanente, will help the county figure out how to get more citizens out of their houses and cars and onto their feet and bicycles in the coming years.
"Results from our triennial community health survey show people want more places for walking and bicycling," said Mark Wallace, MD, Executive Director of the county health department in a press release. "We know from research that a community’s quality of life is directly linked to accessing places for active living and play."
Throughout Colorado, 4.3 percent of adults either walk or bike to work. But in Weld County, that number dwindles to 2.5 percent, according to Weld County's 2012 Health Status Report.
Wallace said that improving opportunities for citizens to get outside would be good for local business and health.
A 2011 national study of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure showed that money invested in walking and biking paths did indeed create jobs.
The $100,000 is aiming to help the Weld County Health Department partner with at least five local communities to collect lists of all the areas that could be used for physical activity, such as parks, trails, recreation centers and golf courses. There are 31 communities in Weld County and one of the most popular options for physical activity is the Poudre River Trail that runs 21 miles from Windsor to Greeley.