Picayune school district gets a new exercise area

Published 6:49 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Picayune school district recently received a walking trail complete with exercise stations to help promote healthier lifestyles for students and adults in the community.

The new trail is one of many walking trails in the area to encourage children and adults alike to live healthier lifestyles. This new addition was part of the Safe Harbor Happy Healthy Trails to You Grant that is through the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, said Picayune School District Project Coordinator Dawn Bechtel.

The new trail is situated around the Picayune High School football field and has various stations to perform certain exercises as participants walk the circumference of the the area containing the stadium and ballfield. Each station has a sign with instructions on how to perform each exercise.

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Two more walking trails in the Picayune School District are planned with help from the Safe Harbor Grant through the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and the Poplarville Rotary Club, said Dr. Ted Alexander, Chief Executive Officer for the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation. Those sites include the Center for Alternative Education and South Side Upper and Lower Elementary, Alexander said.

“If the kids use them, that’ll accomplish our healthy lifestyles goals, that’s what we’re working towards,” Alexander said.

The foundation also has funded trails for Pearl River Central and Poplarville schools, Alexander said.

The trail could entice participants two walk for about a mile while stopping and performing various exercises, if interested parties begin at the designated start point, go to the end and work their way back, Alexander said.

Steve Weaver, store manager for Home Depot in Picayune, said that the exercise stations were built as a product of the good will of Home Depot employees.

“We’ve got volunteers from the store who came down on their own time to help us take care of business,” Weaver said about the exercise station construction.

Over a period of four months crews of three people would spend their free time building the exercise stations, Weaver said. The remaining stations were scheduled for completion by Tuesday evening, Weaver said.

Weaver said he has opened six stores as store manager for Home Depot in the past and is impressed with the community response he and his staff have received from Pearl River County residents and the Picayune City Council and Mayor.

“I never went to a community and been greeted like I have here in Picayune,” Weaver said.

The walking trail is part of about $1.2 million in financial assistance that the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation has provided to the Picayune School District to help children lead healthier lives, Alexander said.