An improved walking trail at the Westminster Senior and Community Center is getting noticed by community walkers.
The fully repaved path is wider than it was previously, allowing side-by side walkers and mobility devices to safely traverse the trail.
“Socialization is an important part of maintaining a healthy life as we age, as well as keeping moving, and having the improved walking trail provides a safe opportunity for older community members that enjoy getting outside, walking or trying something new,” said Erica Starr, center manager at the Westminster facility. “The benches along the trail have been replaced, making nice places for our walkers to stop and rest along the way.”
Starr said the path’s main section is 950 feet long, but there are additional spurs as well.
“Depending on the paths you choose the distance can be from 950 feet to as much as 2,396 feet, so from a little over an eighth of a mile to just under a half-mile on one lap,” she said. “We have a pamphlet you can pick up at the senior center that lets you know how many times around equals a mile for some of the possible path choices.”
Judy Shorb said she likes to use the trail when she’s not volunteering at the center.
“Two people can walk and talk,” she said. “I like to walk with my twin [Joyce Taulbee]. It’s a very nice area. I look at nature while I walk, and we can sit down now because they put in brand-new benches. I think there are five of them.”
Shorb said some days she takes a short walk and then rests before moving on, or she might stop and come back another day.
“We have seen deer down in the lower part and all kinds of birds. It is beautiful. We see people from Change [Inc.], too,” she said. “They bring their clients over. We are the kind who likes to say hello and interact.”
Fred Beard, a senior center volunteer, said he started using the trail after it was updated.
“I didn’t walk the trail before because I didn’t want to go out and fall,” he said. “I had taken a bad fall, so I’m careful. Now I do go out and walk because it’s safer. It is about the exercise.”
Celene Steckel, bureau chief at the Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities, said the number of people utilizing the walking path varies per day, with anywhere from 10 to 50 hitting the trail.
“The usership is people of all ages,” Steckel said. “Our center members take advantage of the trail as well as some of the participants of our neighboring agencies of Change and Target [Community and Educational Services Inc.]. Our Bureau of Aging & Disabilities staff also enjoy walks on their breaks to refresh and relax.”
Keeping bodies and minds active is an important part of aging in place. The walking path provides another opportunity to socialize while staying in shape.
“The senior center is a place for older adults to meet up with each other, hang out with friends and socialize,” Starr said. “We also have our yearly car show in the grassy area around the path, and the improvements have made the path much easier for our older community members to get to see all the cars that attend up close. Even better is the ability of two wheelchairs or rollator users to pass each other without ending up in the grass.”
On Sept. 25, over 50 people attended a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the revitalized walking path. After the ceremony, which the Bureau of Aging and Disabilities hosted, Carroll County Commissioners Stephen Wantz and Dennis Frazier led attendees on an inaugural walk. Walkers logged their mileage during the event, totaling over 42 miles walked.
Sandy Ridgely said the trails are a lot smoother now. She joined her friends for the inaugural walk.
“It is a pretty walk, and the hospital and school are nearby. You can see a lot from the trail. This time of year, the leaves are very pretty. We take our time and sit down to rest if we get tired.”
“The trail is a great place to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves in the fall and the cherry blossoms in the spring, along with birdwatching,” she said.
Those who wish to take advantage of the new walking trail can join other walkers any day of the week. The trail is located at the senior center at 125 Stoner Ave. in Westminster.
“You should just come out and look at it,” Shorb said. “It’s all on the senior center property. People get out there and find that it is very nice. Everyone has so enjoyed this new trail.”