Bluff Haven walking path available to grow community connections

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Workers from Outdoor Creations, of Monona, Iowa, saw and place brick pavers along the outer edge of the walking path last week.

The nearly finished Growing Connections Walking Path will offer 752 feet of continuous paved surface for walkers on the west side of the Prairie Maison/Bluff Haven campus in Prairie du Chien. (Photos by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

 

It’s all coming together for the greater goal of enriching lives at Prairie Maison and Bluff Haven, and for the community too, as the Growing Connections Walking Path is nearly complete. 

Administration at the Community Health Services campus in Prairie du Chien expects the 752 feet of continuous, paved surface—with serene views of the bluffs and benches for seating—to be open by early July. All residents of the nursing home and assisted living facility, as well as community members, are welcome to enjoy this new, free amenity.

Outdoor Creations, of Monona, Iowa, began constructing the project June 4, on the west side of the campus. It’s visible just past the entrance to the campus.

Alesha Erdenberger, Bluff Haven administrator, said the crew moved in dirt and gravel for the foundation, supplied by Gale and Cheryl Beneker and Prairie Sand and Gravel. Then, they mapped out the weaving circular trail and started placing pavers of varying sizes. In between each brick, a poly sand was poured, which, when water is added, turns into an epoxy, bonding each stone together. Pavers along the edge were sawn to just the right size and carefully set to tidy up the perimeter of the walking path. 

Toward the front of the site, where users will first walk on to the path, will be a cluster of memorial bricks, purchased by residents, families, local businesses and area citizens. One order of 30 memorial bricks was made already; they will be installed soon. Then, as more people purchase these, another order for memorial bricks will be placed in September and added to that section at the time. 

Also, letters were sent out to community stakeholders seeking donations toward the $69,000 project. Though, Erdenberger noted that, the corporation halted those requests when COVID-19 hit, “out of respect for businesses enduring hardship.”

Still shy of their goal by about $27,000, Community Health Services stepped in and provided the funds to make the project a reality yet this summer. 

Though, donations would still be accepted, Erdenberger said.

“We went ahead with it because our residents needed this. It’s coming at an important time when (due to COVID-19) they’re depressed,” she stated. “Our employees all need this too. It’s been a stress relief.”

She added that some of CHS’ night shift staff have walked the nearly finished path already when work is done for the evening.

In addition to memorial benches staggered along the path, there are also two bridges, donated by Universal Forest Products.

“They’re recycled plastic. So they’ll last a long time,” she said.

Erdenberger shared that a swing along with perennials, shrubs, trees and decorative rock are being installed along the path as well. 

The public is encouraged to stop by and respectfully check out the walking path. CHS wants to continue growing in the community and making people aware of them. But, especially in light of the coronavirus, Erdenberger asks potential users to “please be aware of our policy on visitation, and if residents are out here, please avoid the area.”

In the interest of keeping CHS residents and staff safe from the virus, no visitors are allowed in the facilities at this time. 

For more information or to inquire about making a donation, contact Alesha at 326-3200.

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