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Walkers on the right path

The city of Vicksburg opened its newest walking trail Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Halls Ferry Park.

“Everything went very well,” said Shape Up Vicksburg founder Linda Fondren, who estimated about 30 people attended the ceremony,

“I was surprised at the turnout, especially with the water crisis the city has had over the past few days,” she said.

Fondren called the event a celebration.

“Whenever the city makes improvements to a neighborhood park, Shape Up Vicksburg comes out to celebrate the improvements and get the community out,” she said. “How else would the residents know about the improvements unless we have a celebration. That’s what we were doing, celebrating improvements to another community park.”

She also commended Marcia Weaver, the city’s grants coordinator for her efforts in getting grants to improve the parks.

The walking trail was paid for in part by a $99,000 federal Recreational Trails Program grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks.

The grant, which is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, covered about 80 percent of the $123,750 project, with the city paying the remaining $24,750.

The city also received a $30,000 commitment from My Brother’s Keeper to provide amenities like benches, signs and fitness stations along the trail, and Shape Up Vicksburg committed to planning the opening ceremonies for the trail and to organize group walks.

The trail’s route goes around the main parking area at Halls Ferry Park, going around the tennis courts and baseball and softball fields.

Fondren said the 3/4-mile walking trail features benches and two water stations, one to allow people to fill their water bottles, and another that is handicap accessible.

“This is a very quiet place, and it’s beautiful with the trees and greenery around it,” she said. “You can walk and sit on a bench and enjoy the quiet. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to come out, exercise and have better health.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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