VALPARAISO | The city has received a grant intended to provide exercises to help older residents become extremely older residents, Valparaiso Parks Director John Seibert said.
Seibert told the City Council on Monday that, as part of the city's ongoing effort to help senior citizens remain independent, a seven station Life Trail will be added to Fairgrounds Park at a corner next to the walking/running track.
The track is being widened to eight feet, and Seibert said that project qualified the city to receive the Communities for a Lifetime grant of $72,356 for the LifeTrail advance wellness system.
The track work is expected to be completed by next week and the Life Trail will be installed and ready for use by October.
Although the equipment will be available to people of all ages, it's part of the overall Elderstyle program the parks department is offering in conjunction with the Pines Village Retirement Communities and several other partners, including the Valparaiso YMCA.
In addition to activities at the Banta Center, the city is working on such things as lengthening the crosswalk signals and providing drop off zones and valet parking for events at the downtown Central Park Plaza.
"To take an idea (Elderstyle) that is a little ahead of its time and bring in a lot of players and then this is really great," Mayor Jon Costas said. "To help people grow and develop as individuals at any age is a great thing."
Laurie Mullet, chief executive officer of the Pines Village Retirement Communities said there is a fear factor to overcome to get people to try new things because many have not lived a healthy lifestyle.
"It's great to have the facilities we have for a city our size," Costas said. "The Y is part of that. Without all that, we couldn't live as well as we do, and we must continue to find ways to collaborate for the benefit of all our citizens."