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January 27, 2013

New group looks to reverse Clark County health trends

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Subsequently, a priority for the initiative was to make Jeffersonville more walkable and bikeable. Increased internal mobility in the community would also serve as a way to make the area more desirable to businesses and individuals.

“Complete streets and bike lanes — this is the new way communities are looking at economic development, business development [and] infrastructure development,” Enix said. “Research shows walkable and bikeable cities are desirable for business, desirable for residents [and] healthier.”

But more bike lanes and sidewalks will extend beyond just the city of Jeffersonville.

“When you look at a plan for walkability and bikeablility that ... it’s not isolated there in Jeffersonville,” Enix said.

He added that the group is looking at ways to extend routes to the Ohio River Greenway in Clarksville, to River Ridge Commerce Center, all the way up to Charlestown State Park. It also is looking to change some restrictions relating to mobility that are already in place. One policy that was identified points to walkability for schools, as some restrict students being able to walk or ride a bike to school for safety reasons.

“Part of this masterplan is how we make those schools accessible for walk and bike traffic,” Enix said.

Another plan in place that will be part of the initial focus for the committee is workplace wellness.

Larry Lynn, vice-president of Neace Lukens Insurance, said not only does providing health education and opportunities to employees benefit the workers, but it also reduces the company’s health-insurance costs.

The idea of having more than one way to affect a healthy change is something Clark Memorial Hospital is implementing.

Martin Padgett, CEO of Clark Memorial Hospital and co-chair of the committee, said the hospital has revamped its cafeteria’s discounting program — lowering the cost on healthier foods along with providing portion control.

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