The City of Danville was recognized recently for its dedication to improving the community’s health.
During the 2017 Regional Health Summit at Averett University presented by The Health Collaborative, City of Danville received awards for the Danville Rides Bike Share Program and the Complete Streets Policy. Both efforts feature a strong partnership with city leadership and staff.
“We are fortunate to have such health-minded leadership,” said Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia. “Our mission is to see Danville happy and healthy; the mayor, city council and city manager consistently help us achieve those goals through policy practice.”
The bike share program was launched in July and features five bike lockers along the 11.7-mile Riverwalk Trail, allowing users access to bikes year round for a minimal fee. Since its launch, the program has garnered over 1,500 active users who have taken over 4,000 trips. The program aims to build community while encouraging outdoor activity and promoting a new appreciation for the environment.
“Seeing the success of Danville Rides in our area has been encouraging,” said Sgrinia. “The Riverwalk Trail is a signature destination in Danville and the ability for our users to access bikes adds a whole new element of adventure, fun and health. On any given day, we see runners, walkers, nature enthusiasts and bikers enjoying the opportunity afforded by the trail. Since the bike share program was launched, many of those users have seen more of the trail than ever before while increasing their active lifestyles.”
Likewise in 2017, the City of Danville adopted its first policy that focuses on creating safe transportation networks throughout the city. The Complete Streets Policy establishes guidelines that are to be followed whenever new roadways are constructed or substantial improvements made to existing ones, ensuring that efforts are being made to include accessibility for all modes of transportation when possible.
“The Riverwalk mainly focuses on recreation,” said Sgrinia. “While users can access most of the city via the trail, transportation through much of Danville’s existing infrastructure is geared toward motor vehicles. The Complete Streets Policy helps the city establish a working plan to encourage man-powered transportation such as bicycles by pinpointing opportunities to create bike-friendly and pedestrian roadways.
Alternate transportation is invaluable to the well-being of a city and its residents. Council has done an amazing job in recognizing how a few small changes in the community and the addition of healthy opportunities can change the landscape for the region’s health.”
Danville Parks and Recreation was also recognized during the Health Summit, along with various other organizations throughout the region, for implementing the Thrive! Challenge.
Agencies in the challenge were urged to commit to promoting activities aimed at encouraging participants and employees to make healthy choices. Throughout the past year, Danville Parks and Recreation has included health related topics in monthly staff meetings, encouraged visitors to the City Auditorium to take the stairs as opposed to the elevator and has instituted healthy standards in the Healthy Kids Play afterschool program including a healthy snack and active play policy.
The program also features a grow-your-own snack activity in which the students maintain raised garden beds and learn to create healthy eating habits in their own back yards.