Louisiana Christian University to dedicate walking trail Thursday

 The Parrish Fuller Walking Trail dedication will be held Thursday, March 31 at 3:30 p.m. 

The project has been two years in the making and has garnered the financial and community support of so many, said Sonia Tinsley, chair of LCU Division of Allied Health who coordinated this effort. 

And it’s already paying off for some in the community. 

Ronnie Schwartz, Louisiana Athletic Club director and Cenla Runners coordinator, said his group enjoyed the new track and that the surface of it is awesome for walkers and runners. 

“Thursday nights have found a new home, Schwartz said. 

In addition to the community, LCU employees are enjoying the exercise, too. 

“I love it because it is quiet, safe, solid footing, up and down inclines for strengthening your muscles, and the workout stations around the track,” said Karen Watkins, executive assistant for advancement. “It offers a lovely atmosphere to walk while providing a safe track with challenges of inclines and workout stations along the way.” 

Tinsley said the purpose of the project was to improve community access to physical activity opportunities by improving the fitness trail and installing exercise equipment. 

“The exercise equipment offers a variety of aerobic, muscle/strength, core, balance and flexibility equipment to provide a well-rounded fitness routine,” Tinsley said. “We have been awarded designation as a National Demonstration Site™ for Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks from the company, PlayCore for using evidence-based design and best practices to promote physical activity. The Parrish Fuller Fitness Trail will be listed on the PlayCore National Demonstration Site Map. The fitness trail and exercise equipment can help individuals of all fitness levels engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity, while enjoying the health benefits of physical activity.” 

Tinsley said that through the Step Up, CENLA program, Physical Activity Workshops will be offered providing education on the benefits of physical activity, equipment available at the trail and will help organize walking groups. 

Major funding was provided by The Rapides Foundation, Tinsley said, in the form of two grants totalling nearly $135,000, that helped repair, widen and repave the fitness trail along with purchasing and installing exercise equipment to create fitness stations. 

“The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Mini Grant supports community-driven solutions aimed at preventing and reducing obesity by improving access to physical activity opportunities within the community,” said Ashley Stewart, Director of Programs for The Rapides Foundation. “Not having access to safe, free and convenient places to walk or exercise is often cited as a barrier to being physically active. The Parrish Fuller Fitness Trail project addresses these barriers by providing access to physical activity opportunities for LCU staff and students and also for the surrounding neighborhoods and community.” 

Community support also came from CHRISTUS Health, Well-Ahead Louisiana (LouisianaDepartment of Health), and Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition of Central Louisiana, the City of Pineville, Louisiana Athletic Club and Zion Hill Church.

“We are eager to collaborate with the Health and Exercise Science Department and participate in the effort to increase awareness and provide education to the community to create a culture of wellness where physical activity is prioritized,” said Daisha Bonhomme, a community outreach manager with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Chris Karam, CEO of Christus St. Frances Cabrini Health System, also pledged to encourage employees to utilize the trail and to share information about the fitness trail and exercise equipment through its clinics to build community awareness. 

Jennifer GiLCUhrist, co-chair of Central Louisiana Health Communities Coalition, said her group is eager to collaborate with the Health and Exercise Science Department…to create a culture in which physical activity is the norm. “We are thankful and grateful to see this good work being accomplished in our community.”



 Media Release March 28,2022 | Pineville, Louisiana
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of University Communications | Elizabeth.clarke@lcuniversity.edu