RISE Cowley — Cowley County’s health coalition — has been partnering with community groups to make living healthfully an easy, familiar and expected part of routines and traditions. This is happening in our community through active living policies, systems and environments.

RISE Cowley started with a Community Perception Survey in 2017. Responses indicated agreement that our community has an adequate number of parks and playgrounds. However, community members indicated there were not an adequate number of sidewalks, walking/biking paths or places to walk that are well lighted and secure.

We used this data to explore opportunities to promote active living opportunities through built environment and projects. RISE Cowley engaged city and community leaders to partner and prioritize opportunities.

Here’s highlights of what has happened to date:

Outdoor enthusiasts formed the Walnut Valley Flyers. This group is interested in biking and running on trails. They partnered with RISE Cowley and received funding to purchase a “Trail in a Box,” a trailer with equipment and tools to help with trail creation and maintenance. Their first project was the Hoodoo Loop, appropriate for hiking or biking. The trail is located on Southwestern College property but can be accessed via North Viking Boulevard, northwest of Winfield Middle School.

The City of Arkansas City recently finalized upgrades to Poplar Trail, west of the U.S. 77 bypass. Outdoor exercise stations have been installed. Funding for the project came from a Be the Spark grant awarded to the Arkansas City Middle School KAY Club. 

Similar outdoor exercise stations and lighting have been installed by City of Winfield Parks and Recreation Department at the Broadway Recreation Complex. The equipment was funded by a Kansas Recreation and Parks grant. The City of Winfield also enhanced lighting at Cherry Street Park for the playground and walking paths.

Burden PRIDE has received a Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant to resurface the basketball court at the Burden City Park. Work will commence this spring. 

The City of Udall will utilize a SUN Club and a  Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant to create a walking path around the Udall City Park.

One of RISE Cowley’s goals is to raise awareness of projects that will increase opportunities for active living. Together, we RISE!


K-State Research and Extension Events

Jan. 28 — Cooking Under Pressure, Udall High School, 6:30 p.m. Registration fee is $5.

Feb. 21 — Mental Health First Aid, South Central Kansas Medical Center, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. $35. Call (620) 221-5450 to register.


Becky Reid is the family and consumer sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension, Cowley County. She can be reached at 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565.

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