Rail-trails impact recreation, transportation and economy.
Mayor Kenneth Gulley kicked off The City of Bessemer’s new spring and summer health initiative — Be Active, Be Fit, Be Healthy, last Saturday at Roosevelt Park, as part of a wellness campaign. The informal city gatherings will happen once a month, exploring the City’s neighborhoods, parks and local businesses. 98.7 Kiss-FM radio provided tunes at the pre-walk rally, as citizens joined together for words from the Mayor, and light stretches before hitting the park’s walk trail. “We know that people are living longer, healthier lives [these days], and we’re trying to encourage individuals to come out, get these screenings, and do all the things that are necessary to get healthy,”said Gulley. “Cardio is good for the heart, and active lifestyles lead to long healthy lives.” The movement— Be Active, Be Fit, Be Healthy is here to stimulate a desire for health education, fit culture, and active living. The Mayor said that an active lifestyle is crucial to one’s overall health and the City is hoping to ignite healthy living throughout the community. “I’m hoping that this new initiative promotes awareness for health issues and diseases before it’s too late,” said Council President Jesse Matthews, “We are striving to garner city-wide participation from our patrons to push our city’s health consciousness forward in 2017.” Be Active, Be Fit, Be Healthy is a coordinated effort between the City, the Bessemer Rec Center, Medical West, Cahaba Medical Care and the UAB School of Public Health. The collaboration is a partnership with UAB Midsouth Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research Grant and Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, in an effort to broaden health and fitness awareness in Bessemer. “I love my city and there is no other place I’d rather be today than at home in my own community, supporting my hometown,” said Bessemer resident, educator, and Alabama Stem Education Center Executive Director Juanita Graham. “The mayor took that walk with several soldiers [citizens] from our community, and Bessemer is doing it big. We are doing what we need to do to advocate for health and fitness, and it’s a beautiful day to see it all come together.” Asked if he’s hoping the new initiative, Roosevelt Park – and the rec center – will do for Bessemer, what Railroad Park has done for Birmingham, Gulley said, “We’re not imitating anyone. What we’re doing is what we think will work great for the City of Bessemer. Today we’re starting at Roosevelt Park, but all summer long we’re going to walk in a different park because we want to encourage all of our residents and youth to get out the house and put the PlayStations away, and enjoy the outdoors.” Walk-Bessemer featured live food demonstrations, the Bessemer Farmers Market, games, prizes and giveaways. Health screenings and minimally invasive health checks were given, in addition to: blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, bone density, and cholesterol testing, as well as nutritional and dietary information. Attendees also received free eye screenings.