When I think about great places to live, build a HOME, activity plays a huge role. Perhaps this is inborn in all Range folks. We are used to easy access to relatively unpopulated areas in which to hike, bike, snowshoe, and ATV. We are used to playgrounds that aren’t scary–filled with needles, garbage, and riff-raff. We still trust that, overall, we live in a safe place.
This perception of safety is an important element of equitable access: when it comes to physical activity, we Rangers have equal opportunity to get moving regardless of our social indicators. The CDC notes the importance of Equitable and inclusive access to safe places for physical activity for all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, disability status, sexual orientation, and geographic location. Think about older adults or people with disabilities. With a family member suffering with debilitating arthritis, I see the hurdles uneven terrain, lack of stair rails, and missing automatic door-openers create. Three cheers to the Walking Trail at the Iron Trail Motors Convention Center in Virginia. The walking track is open daily from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM and provides a smooth, well-lit surface for walking in a safe, friendly environment. And there is no charge!
Or think about young families just staring out who don’t have a lot of money. The building and maintenance of our city parks continue to provide places across the Range for children to run, climb, and swing. My kids have outgrown parks, but not my nephew. One of our favorite visits is Olcott Park (with a stop at The Freeze 32 (degrees) for ice cream after).
When I was a girl, skateboarding was back in, and for some reason it was not welcomed in public spaces. I remember the “skateboarding is not a crime” bumper stickers.
Now as an adult, I think about the unfriendliness of this movement considering the relative lack of harm of such an activity. I am thrilled by today’s skateboard parks located across the range inviting folks to be active. Hibbing, Chisholm, Keewatin, Buhl, Eveleth and Hoyt Lakes all host such parks.
The CDC talks about the importance of safety, belonging, and inclusion.”Not feeling safe or comfortable in public spaces may reduce opportunities to be physically active.” Range folks continue to advocate for and build new public spaces for all to enjoy. From new pickleball courts in Aurora to the refurbishing of Bennett Park’s basketball court, we as a region continue to create community attributes that can be enjoyed by all.