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  Richmond looks to create fitness space with Wellness Trail
May 22, 2016

Richmond looks to create fitness space with Wellness Trail

By Sarah Tan,
Posted:   05/22/2016 12:00:00 PM PDT | Updated:   22 min. ago

RICHMOND -- A planned new trail in Richmond aims to give those in impoverished neighborhoods more access to nature.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the city's planning department, has been working on an initiative called the Richmond Wellness Trail to increase residents' access to nature trails and areas to exercise. The trail will be a place residents can go to fill their "park prescriptions," and will provide open space for outdoor activities.

"There's a huge barrier between downtown Richmond, the Iron Triangle and the waterfront, and that barrier is (Interstate) 580," Kieron Slaughter, a fellow at the National Park Service, said. "So the logical next step would be to continue planning improvements ... so people don't have to have a gym membership to live a healthy lifestyle."

The trail will connect the Richmond shoreline and the Rosie the Riveter memorial to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, downtown Richmond and the Richmond BART station. The hope is that it will also connect the Richmond Greenway to the San Francisco Bay Trail, and could potentially connect to the future Richmond ferry service.

The project is happening in conjunction with the Richmond Greenway and the Yellow Brick Road project, other initiatives aiming to make Richmond's streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The trail will be interactive and showcase murals and art installations along the way, as well as signs and messages to encourage people to be active. It is modeled on similarly interactive fitness trails like the Boston Freedom Trail and the JFK Park Fitness Zone off Cutting Boulevard.

"It's very exciting to see the movement toward walking and biking in Richmond continue to accelerate," Mayor Tom Butt said. "At the end of the day, we hope Richmond gets recognized as not only a healthy place but a place that's easily accessible."