Hospital, ACC see new trails

Thrive Allen County plans plans to build a trail around Allen Community College and at the Allen County Regional Hospital campus. The hope is to eventually connect them to each other and to the Prairie Spirit Trail.

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July 1, 2021 - 9:44 AM

Allen County Regional Hospital

A series of trails around Allen Community College and Allen County Regional Hospital are planned to improve the health of local residents and employees. 

Thrive Allen County is working to build the trails around the college and hospital, and eventually connect them to each other and to the larger Prairie Spirit Trail nearby. 

Jessica Thompson, Thrive’s deputy director, recently gave hospital board members an update on the project. She had received tentative approval of a $165,000 grant to construct a trail on the hospital campus and was awaiting official confirmation.

Thrive recently used a similar grant to build a trail around the ACC campus. 

The hospital trail will create a loop on the west side of the campus, roughly following an existing path used for “Walk With a Doc” events in previous years. It will have a limestone screening.

“The first phase is a walking trail,” Thompson said. “Eventually, it could become a healing garden and could include flowers and benches.”

The grant, from the Kansas Health Forward Foundation, is aimed at improving health. Hospital employees and patients could benefit from the trail, Thompson said. It could be used in a rehabilitation program, or for community events aimed at improving health, such as the Walk With a Doc program or Walk Kansas.

“We hope these trails will reach a new population that doesn’t currently have access to trails,” Thompson said. 

If the grant receives final approval, construction would likely begin in the fall or possibly early next spring. Thompson said trail-building is best done at certain times of the year.

Thompson also said she would like to work more closely with the hospital facilities board and St. Luke’s Health System to find other health-related grants.

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