The Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Marion Public Health have successfully partnered to win a nearly $25,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors to create an adaptive bicycle program at Tallgrass Trail.
The adaptive bicycle program will kick-off with an Adaptive Sports Expo on May 13.
The Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities grant will be used, in part, to create the adaptive bike program. The program will be implemented through a partnership between the Creating Healthy Communities Coalition at Marion Public Health and the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The grant is designated to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes that focus on intertwining the fields of healthy communities and disability and health. Marion County has developed a national reputation for its community partnerships and healthy community initiatives. This grant now focuses on the inclusion of people with disabilities.
“One of our community goals has been to implement a bike share program at Tallgrass Trail,” said Erin Creeden, Creating Healthy Communities Coordinator for Marion Public Health. “Adaptive bicycles will be stored, maintained and loaned out. It will be an educational opportunity for people with and without disabilities to learn about adaptive equipment and other recreational experiences available to individuals with disabilities.”
The opening of the adaptive bike share program will coincide with the Marion County Adaptive Sports Equipment Expo, which will be put on by The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition on May 13 to help launch the bike share program. The expo will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tallgrass Trail, 2093 Holland Rd. West, Marion. There will be exhibits showcasing adaptive equipment for kayaking, a sit ski simulator, and adapting cycling equipment.
The storage facility for the adaptive bicycle program was built by students at Tri-Rivers Career Center.
“The awarding of this grant culminates a year of work,” said Jessica Trainer, director of human resources for the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “It is critically important that we make exercise and athletic opportunities available to individuals with disabilities. There is a disparity between individuals with disabilities who exercise and the general public. The percentage of individuals with disabilities who exercise is 17 percent, while 31 percent of the general population exercises. This, we hope, will increase that percentage in Marion County.”
The Tallgrass Trail is an 11-mile multi-use trail that follows the former Erie-Lakawanna railroad tracks.
For additional information on the adaptive equipment that will be on display at the expo, or to schedule a cycling equipment evaluation time slot, contact Erin Creeden at 740.692.9128.