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Local website promotes active living

By Nate Langworthy

Mon, Feb 27th, 2012
Posted in All Health & Wellness

If you’re looking for a way to have some fun getting a little exercise and more fully enjoy the outdoor resources that southeastern Minnesota has to offer, there is now a comprehensive online list of parks and recreation areas to fit your whims.

Olmsted County staff has collaborated with ten surrounding counties to help create, a website and mobile phone application with the aim of assisting local residents and visitors lead active lives.

“We wanted to make sure that we had a product out there that the everyday citizen could work with, not just the active sports enthusiast,” said Sandi Goslee, Olmsted County senior planner.

In addition to providing information about parks, trails, and active recreation, the site also can be used to find opportunities to eat better. Information is given for area community gardens, farmer’s markets, and even the farmers themselves.

The site was developed by Houston Engineering, which had helped to create similar sites in Anoka and Carver counties. Having a set template to go off of and pooling resources from a larger area helped to keep the County’s cost down. Winona County staff will maintain the site, and Olmsted County will update information on a yearly basis.

“We weren’t reinventing the wheel in terms of data,” said Jill Walters, a Olmsted County public health educator. “That saved us a lot of money, that we didn’t have to do this on our own.

The site is an initiative of the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) which was implemented in 2008 to promote healthy living as a preventative approach to health care. Olmsted County, as well as the partnering surrounding counties, used approximately $5000 of the SHIP grant funding each to create

In addition to providing a resource to promote physical activity, Goslee says that the project helped to bridge communication with planning staff in neighboring counties, in lieu of a regional planning group, and also to better connect departments within the County.

“I see our communication as something that will save us time, money, and headaches in the future,” Goslee said. She went on to say that planning staff, GIS staff, and public health educators are now in better communication within the County and that should help to streamline more valuable services to the public.

The mobile application can be found by searching either Android or iPhone markets.

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