People walking through Mount Union will now have the opportunity to learn more about the town’s history and diversity while getting some exercise.
Officials from Mount Union Borough, as well as the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC), were on hand for the dedication of the Bricktown Unity Trail Saturday morning, as part of the state Department of Health’s WalkWorks Trail program.
According to the WalkWorks page, accessed through the state Department of Health’s website, the program is a partnership between the department and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Center for Public Health Practice.
The site states WalkWorks identifies and promotes safe walking routes; offers social support through guided, community-based walking groups; helps schools develop walk-to-school programs; and addresses local policies to increase safe walking routes.
Brandon Peters, SAP&DC representative, said this is one of only two WalkWorks trails in the SAP&DC region.
“This is a state Department of Health initiative to get people out and living an active lifestyle,” he said.
Nearly 20 signs have been erected in the borough that established the 1.65-mile Bricktown Unity Trail Route, which starts at Riverside Park, goes along West and East Sherman streets, moves up along North Jefferson Street, goes across Shirley Street, and back down Division and Shaver streets back to Riverside Park.
Along the route, residents can learn about historic places and history of Mount Union, including its diverse population, the history of its three brickyards, the Sharrar House, Peduzzi’s Confectionery and the Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Station (now the Bricktown Senior Center).
Sue Zinobile, Mount Union Borough manager, said they wanted to keep the route close to current places where people can enjoy outdoor recreation.
“The route is close to Linear Park, the proposed Pennsylvania Avenue Walk and it also connects with the Riverwalk Trail,” she said. “We hope to continue to link everything together.”
Peters said they wrote the application for the grant and submitted it to the state Department of Health last fall, and borough council members, as well as community members from the Heart of Mount Union and Mount Union Area Partnership (MUAP) worked hard to establish a trail route.
The signage and educational materials were paid for by the grant from the state Department of Health.
“They were designed to point out points of interest and things of historical significance,” said Peters.
Additionally, groups can register with an app through WalkWorks to walk the Bricktown Unity Trail, said Peters.
Zinobile said establishing things like the WalkWorks trail in Mount Union is enticing to building the borough’s economy and viability in the region.
“Employers look at the quality of life in a community, and they look at things like walking trails and parks,” she said.
Joan Rogers, Mount Union Borough Council member, this is great for the progress of Mount Union.
“This is a good addition to the progress we’re trying to make,” she said. “This is a good way to have a collaborative effort for the entire community.”
For more information about the WalkWorks program, visit the website at www.pawalkworks.com.