Lohrville completes trail with $10,000 grant from Wellmark
Last April, a charter bus departed Lohrville and made the 90 mile journey to Des Moines.
On the bus were 80 citizens from the tiny Calhoun County community, dressed in matching blue T-shirts and wearing tennis shoes. They were headed to the Grand Blue Mile, the one-mile downtown street run created by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and held annually in conjunction with the Drake Relays.
The Lohrville cohort was there for more than just a little exercise. Their participation earned their town the distinction of winning the 2018 Set the Pace challenge and a $10,000 award.
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The annual Set the Pace challenge encourages Iowans to take part in the Grand Blue Mile, awarding the community with the highest percentage of its residents participating, measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against the community’s total population. Lohrville has a population of about 350.
“This is something we could do," said Lohrville Mayor Danny Hobbs. "Small communities, we don’t get big numbers, but we get big percentages.”
The community chose to spend the $10,000 grant on an ongoing trail project. The Kinney/Mohr Trail offers a quarter-mile mile extension to the existing Ralph Earwood Memorial Trail, located on the east side of town.
The trail, built following Earwood's death in 1987, was originally used as an outdoor classroom. Today the trail is utilized by members of the Lohrville Walking Group, as well as in 4-H, library and City of Lohrville programming.
“For such a small community, Lohrville has a lot of people that are really dedicated to improving the town,” said Kendra Kinney.
The trail extension was named in memory of Kinney's mom and her uncle. Both Tami Mohr, a city council member and EMT, and Vern Kinney died in 2016 and left money in their memorial funds to be used towards the trail. Both the city and county did additional fundraising and grant writing to secure funds for the extension.
“This is a really nice way for them to be honored," Kinney said.
REGISTER NOW: 2019 Grand Blue Mile Registration
The trail extension features a heart-shaped turnaround and was completed in late summer. They celebrated with a community walk, including representatives from Wellmark and the Healthiest State Initiative, in September.
"We’re a small town — we don’t have a big grocery store or anything like that," said Hobbs. "But we have these spots that are healthy for us and gets us moving, but also healthy for us in the community aspect.”