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Abramson speaks in Winchester on Trails

 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject: Abramson speaks in Winchester on Trails Reply with quote

The Distinguished Speakers Brown Bag Lunch Series continued yesterday at the Leeds Center for the Arts with a presentation by Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Abramson spoke about Bluegrass Rails to Trails and the initiatives taken to make the Louisville metro area more bike friendly. He also shared suggestions for creating similar initiatives in Clark County.

“He has been an absolute leader in the topic … (of) rails, pedways and trails,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said to a crowd of almost 200.

Abramson has served as mayor of Louisville for 20 years and has been leading that city’s biking initiative since 2005, which began in with the first annual Mayor’s Hike and Bike.

“The real win is in the quality of life, because time and time again, when you talk about a strong, positive message, when you talk about keeping families together and watching for opportunities for families to enjoy activities, when you talk about economic development … we understand the importance of recreation,” Abramson said. “I think that plays a major role in the success of a community.”

Abramson spoke about how Winchester can become more recreation-friendly with limited resources, and what community members can do to partner together to accomplish recreation goals.

“You’ve got to have people with passion,” Abramson said. “People have got to believe in taking it to the next level.”

After a trip to Colorado in 2005 and seeing firsthand efforts taken there to encourage biking, Abramson said he decided to make it a priority in his city.

“I saw what was happening in terms of bicycling, and I created an opportunity to bring people together to figure out what we needed to do in the future to enhance Louisville,” Abramson said.

That led to the Mayor’s Hike and Bike, an event in downtown Louisville Memorial Day weekend to encourage families to come out and bike around the city. Streets were closed down to create a 17-mile loop, and participants were able to bike as much or as little as they wanted.

The success of the Hike and Bike led to the creation of more bike paths and maintenance of existing paths. Eventually, Abramson said, the goal will be to connect all bike paths throughout the city and all of the city parks with a 100-mile loop. So far, 27 miles have been connected and Abramson said that every new road is required to include a bike path.

“How do you encourage people to ride?” You hold a public event and invite them to come,” Abramson said. “We’re now up to over 5,000 people (attending the Hike and Bike).”

Abramson encouraged Clark County citizens to start taking action now and working toward a goal of a more active community.

“The time couldn’t be better to be setting up a game plan, developing a road map and visioning where you want to be 10 years from now, setting up a group to get you there, and ultimately holding them responsible. … ensuring that, ultimately, you have a healthier community.”

By Rachel Parsons, rparsons@winchestersun.com.
Copyright:The Winchester Sun 2009 "
http://www.winchestersun.com/public_html/?module=displaystory&story_id=18443&format=html
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