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Chapin promotes Active Community Environment thanks to grant

The Town of Chapin has been working for months to promote an active community environment through its participation in Eat Smart Move More Lexington County. This coalition of local governments, health and recreation agencies, and the Central Midlands Council of Governments has worked to increase access to public sidewalks, sponsor events that support healthy life choices, and promote awareness among residents about the many benefits of adopting a more active lifestyle.

“Through our participation in Eat Smart Move More, we have learned how Cayce, West Columbia and Springdale have worked to improve their communities through bike and pedestrian assessments, expanding their sidewalk networks with crosswalks and ADA access as well as improved wayfinding signs,” explained Chapin Communications and Economic Development Director Karen Owens. “Thanks to a grant we received from the Lexington chapter of Eat Smart Move More, we have been able to conduct a number of activities to enhance pedestrians experience and promote a more active, healthy community.”

A walkability assessment conducted back in May recommended the town invest in improvements to its sidewalk network by installing ADA-approved curb cuts on existing sidewalks as well as any new sidewalks added within the town. In addition, the report endorsed installing highly visible crosswalks at intersections to provide safe and easy crossing for pedestrians and alert drivers to be on the watch for pedestrians. Removing or cutting back overgrown shrubs and trees and installing better wayfinding signage to increase awareness of pedestrians and motorists were also noted.

The Eat Smart Move More grant covered much of the start-up expenses for the Chapin Downtown Farmer’s Market, which has been held the first Saturday of the month from May through October. The market, which concludes its first season this Saturday, October 7, runs from 9 am to 12 pm on Clark Street in Chapin. Each market has featured health and wellness demonstrations designed to engage residents and support physical activity and healthy eating options.

Staff decided to host a Chapin Circuits Walk event before the final Farmer’s Market to get people out walking in the town. The walk follows a 1.5 mile route from the Mt. Horeb parking lot on East Boundary Street to Chapin Town Hall and back up Columbia Avenue to Beaufort Street. The walk is free with registration beginning at 8 am, and the walk starts at 8:30 am. The first 100 people to register for Chapin Circuits will receive a free sports water bottle. The form to register is available on the town’s website (www.chapinsc.com.)

“Studies have shown the benefits of walking at least 30 minutes a day include reducing a person’s risk of heart disease and obesity, lowering blood pressure and improving mental health,” Owens added. “From a town’s perspective, having a more pedestrian-friendly environment can positively impact property values, reduce traffic congestion and lower greenhouse gas emissions. It also gives people an opportunity to connect that they can’t experience when they are driving a car. We hope people will come out and participate in the walk, enjoy our Oktoberfest market with food and live music, and take part in something that builds community in our small town.”