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Shiloh Street striping first project in five-year grant

Striping will soon begin on Shiloh Street in Linden, ending at Third Avenue and incorporating a bike and walking lane. It will be the first of multiple projects over a five-year period funded by a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s High Obesity Program through Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s ALProHealth program in an effort to combat obesity in Marengo County.

Approximately $35,000 each year for five years will be distributed by Auburn University, who was the recipient of the grant and is a partner for the extension program. Representatives from the university are also handling additional administrative duties related to the grant.

With the knowledge that Shiloh Street is a heavily-trafficked area and the only road aside from Highway 43 that runs throughout the entirety of Linden, Marengo County Extension Coordinator Pat Stenz and SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Tammy Glass set out to make walking or biking to the grocery store and other places safe and accessible with the end goal being decreasing obesity by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.

“The goal of the project is more about connectability, about getting people access to healthy foods,” Stenz said, adding that the community would also benefit from greater access to the pharmacy.

Shiloh Street striping will begin in August, with the expected end date at the end of the month. While no road closures will take place, temporary one-lane sections can be expected for a few days during striping.

The second project will add a crosswalk across South Main Street near the intersection with 6th Avenue South, which will follow the striping project’s aim to make walking the city safe and accessible.

“We’re encouraging people to bike and to walk, but the first thing you’ve got to do is make it safe,” Stenz said.

The projects for years 3-5, which may see the extension office branching out into other parts of the county, are still being discussed. Stenz and Glass have a city planner on their side to make sure each project is cohesive in the overall five-year plan. They also formed an ALProHealth Coalition with various school, business and community leaders from Linden in order to examine the needs of the area from all perspectives.

Auburn University was awarded over $1 million from the CDC which is being distributed throughout 13 Alabama counties. The extension office is an outreach organization for AU and Alabama A&M University in cooperation with Tuskegee University.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, July 31 issue of the Demopolis Times.)