PICTURED: Monticello used their mini grant funds to install a permanent StoryWalk. Photo courtesy Monticello Express.
See projects in Ely, Monticello & Pleasant Hill
Earlier this fall, the Healthiest State Initiative and the Iowa Parks & Recreation Association (IPRA) partnered to provide mini grant opportunity for IAPRA members to receive funding to support the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk and walkability efforts in their community.
The communities of Ely, Monticello and Pleasant Hill each received a $500 mini grant to complete projects that would promote walking and social connectedness. Here's how they used their mini grant funds:
Ely will use their mini grant funds to create a permanent, painted 170-foot obstacle course on a walking path in their City Park. They will also paint permanent hopscotch and other games/activities on the sidewalks leading to the playground.
"Everyone is so excited for the obstacle course to be painted at City Park," said Callie Stulz-O'Brien, recreation coordinator. "Our plan is to paint it first thing in the spring so we don't have to worry about it fading over winter before it is able to be fully used and appreciated by our residents."
The Monticello Parks & Recreation department first partnered with Monticello Public Library to install a temporary Story Walk in 2020 and it was well received by the community, so they used their mini grant funds to create a more permanent installation.
"With the grant funding, we were able to install the brand new 20-board StoryWalk just a week prior to our Healthiest State Annual Walk event," said Jacob Oswald, parks & recreation director. "Our walk ended up being the perfect opportunity to unveil the first story and we've been hearing nothing but great things since."
READ MORE: Iowa Parks & Recreation Association magazine
Pleasant Hill used their mini grant funds to install a portable, nature-inspired StoryWalk in partnership with the Recreation and Library departments. The current installation is temporary with a larger ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Spring 2022.
"The purpose of this project is to create a portable, nature inspired StoryWalk ... to encourage children and adults to read, get active and learn about the environment," said Ryan Merritt, parks and recreation manager. "Our goal is to promote walking and social connectedness, combining the benefits of physical activity, literacy and environmental education."
RELATED: What is a StoryWalk and how do I make one?