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Unique Park in Yuma

Unique park going in at Yuma District Hospital & Clinic      
Written by By Matt Vincent   
Thursday, 16 May 2013
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Life Trails Health Park was held Saturday and members of the Yuma Hospital Foundation Board turned the first shovel. They included (left to right) Gini Adams, Abby Rahm, Anita Callahan, Polly Vincent, John Gardner, Sue Armstrong and Greg Cranston. Board members who were unable to attend Saturday’s event were Steve Coughlin and Marie Wenger. (Photo by Matt Vincent) The end of one marathon symbolically marked the beginning of another here in Yuma last weekend.

 After more than 100 runners of all ages crossed the finish line at the inaugural “Run for the Health of It” 5K at Yuma District Hospital, organizers used the platform to symbolically break ground for the new Life Trails Health Park.

 As YDHC president John Gardner explained to those gathered for the event, Life Trails represents the culmination of a simple idea that came to him more than five years ago while he was touring health care facilities in Europe.

 While there, Gardner saw several medical facilities in Spain that incorporated outdoor fitness areas as part of their approach to holistic health care and physical rehabilitation. Inspired but unsure on how to implement a similar pro-active health care approach back home, Gardner mentioned the concept to YDHC board member Polly Vincent last year and challenged her to give it form.

Over the past 12 months, Vincent has spent countless hours meeting with and consulting with medical professionals, design engineers and experts at all levels of state government to get this project launched. The result is Life Trails Health Park.  This admittedly ambitious project has already been kick-started with a $273,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.  Vincent’s funding target for the entire project is $500,000 and she feels confident that this target will be met.

“We believe Life Trails will become the living and breathing heart for healthy living in northeastern Colorado,” she said.  “Our facility will give everyone in this community free access to exercise specifically designed for patients who have chronic health issues, while at the same time teaching our young children how to live a more active and healthy life.”

Doctors and hospital staff, together with YDHC’s rehabilitation department, have already endorsed the concept and have said they plan to incorporate it into their patients’ health and rehabilitation plans when and where possible. Everyone involved in the project believes Life Trails will benefit those suffering from chronic conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

The Life Trails Health Park design incorporates paved walking trails linked to a series of outdoor fitness stations, among several other unique features. The entire park will be located on the front grounds of the current hospital location.  Children’s Playstructures and Recreation, a Colorado-based manufacturer that also designed the modern playground equipment at Yuma Middle School, is building the fitness equipment that will be used in the project.   Both Gardner and Vincent believe that Yuma’s Life Trails could become the first of its kind in the nation.

 Custom Fit Builders of Greeley will begin site preparation work later this summer. Construction will take place in three phases over the next 12 months to insure minimal disruption of parking and traffic movement in and around the hospital and clinic.  In addition to a spacious architectural and landscape design, Life Trails plans to offer memorial opportunities for community members who would like to publicly remember and honor family and friends.

 In keeping with that objective, the first phase of construction will include the relocation of the small red memorial bricks currently located in the circle drive of the hospital. For more information on the project or to find out how to get involved, please contact Polly Vincent at (970) 848-5913.