Since February 2010, Origin 4 Design has been part of a strategic planning committee at the Uniontown YMCA. The committee was formed to plan the best use of grant money received to impact health awareness and community accessibility to health and wellness in Uniontown. The YMCA, selected for the program in March 2009, is currently listed among 142 recipient communities nationwide.
The grant is funded through a national network called Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE (ACHIEVE). ACHIEVE is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Healthy Communities Program. Also providing organizational support for the nationwide effort is the National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, National Recreation and Parks Association, the YMCA of the USA, and the Society for Public Health Education. Visit the official YMCA ACHIEVE site here.
Origin 4 Design assisted the planning committee in defining the current project. One of the target goals of the grant requires underserved communities be provided access to recreation and health. Origin 4 Design provided research and analysis, mapping community population demographics including poverty, age, locations of public parks.
The results of the analysis overwhelming directed the project toward the city core and neighborhoods towards the northeast. The group began brainstorming opportunities to utilize the YMCA's facilities while connecting them to the desired neighborhoods and target groups.
The project team decided to expand an existing community ammenity, the Uniontown Rotary Walk, a greenway bike and pedestrian trail. The existing trail is a rail-trail, following a former railway line through the center of the city while running near the YMCA.
The first phase of the project will connect the YMCA to the street grid. Currently, the facility does not have safe deliniation for pedestrians and bikers along its access road. Also missing, are crosswalks across YMCA drive and South Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Origin 4 Design benchmarked the standards defined by Complete Streets to stress the importance of these safety and awareness devices.
The existing Rotary Walk ends a downtown Uniontown at a very dangerous intersection for pedestrians. The intersection, nicknamed Five Corners, poses a hazard with multiple travel lanes and long crosswalk distances.
Origin 4 Design examined how to expand the trail safely by proposing to direct a shorter trail crosswalk through an existing plaza.
Origin 4 Design also examined options to improve the existing crosswalks (which are barely visible) to make them more noticable and safe for pedestrians.
Origin 4 Design detailed the new trail expansion, providing property ownership analysis and feasibility as well as trail routing and costs.
Currently, the project is moving forward through continued stakeholder meetings. Origin 4 Design will continue to update you on the status of the project!