Community Ribbon-Cutting for trail renovation slated for September 9

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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COLUMBUS—A community ribbon-cutting event will occur on Saturday, September 9, from 9 to 11 a.m., commemorating the Tom Raymond Fitness Trail renovation.

The Tom Raymond Fitness Trail construction in 1990 was made possible by financial gifts from the family of Tom Raymond, St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary and Polk County Community Foundation, and in partnership with the Pacolet Area Conservancy (now Conserving Carolina) to promote health and fitness among area residents. In 2003, the trail received a facelift with funds generously donated by Polk County Community Foundation.

Extensive renovation this summer includes eight new fitness stations. The new stations should withstand outdoor elements for many years thanks to generous funding from the Ann Jacob Toms Fund at Polk County Community Foundation. Project partners include Polk County Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department, St. Luke’s Hospital and The Foundation for St. Luke’s Hospital.

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The half-mile fitness loop is nestled in a mix of hardwoods and pines behind St. Luke’s and connects to the ICC loop behind the Polk ICC campus and the Columbus branch of Polk County Libraries.

A community ribbon-cutting event will occur at the trailhead, located at the back parking lot of St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Department. 

“We invite everyone in the community to the ribbon-cutting,” said Amanda Thompson, VP of Operations at St. Luke’s and Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to renovate this fitness trail as it gives our community and hospital staff a unique way to be active outdoors. We thank the Ann Jacob Toms Fund at Polk County Community Foundation for making the restoration possible.”

A complimentary breakfast from Java Up and a T-shirt are available for the first 100 people, and St. Luke’s Hospital departments and Polk County Parks, Recreation, and Maintenance will demonstrate exercises at each station and provide health and wellness tips. 

The Hospital thanks Laura Baird and Polk County Parks, Recreation, and Maintenance for their hard work in making this project a reality. St. Luke’s plans to host quarterly trail events to promote wellness education throughout the year.


Submitted by Dean Graves