St. Luke’s Hospital revives fitness trail with exciting renovations

Published 12:22 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Community gathers to be the first to walk newly upgraded Tom Raymond Trail


COLUMBUS—On Saturday, September 9, at 9:10 a.m., St. Luke’s Hospital celebrated the renovation of its Tom Raymond Fitness Trail.

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Tucked away behind St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus, the short walk that connects to the Isothermal Community College Loop includes eight fitness stations along the gravel trail.

Dozens of people showed up to be the first to walk the newly renovated trail, wearing t-shirts to commemorate the event, and carrying goodie bags for the various items that could be picked up at each station along the trail. Each station held a presentation from different departments of the hospital.

Bruce Martin of Tryon Estates tries out the new equipment at the ribbon-cutting of the Tom Raymond Fitness Trail on Saturday, September 9 (Photo by Grant Langston)

The trail first opened in 1990 and was upgraded in 2003. The fitness stations, previously made of wood, have now been replaced with those made of material that will withstand being outdoors for a long period of time. The trail was also cleaned and fresh gravel was laid. 

“We’re very excited about this because it revitalizes the trial that’s been here for years and has fallen into disrepair,” said Michelle Fortune, CEO of St. Luke’s Hospital. “And thanks to Polk County Parks and Recreation and the Polk County Community Foundation, we have a chance to enjoy the trail again.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Fortune, Polk County Community Foundation board members Monica Jones and Dale McEntire, Laura Baird of Polk County Parks and Recreation, Chairman of the Foundation for St. Luke’s Ben Ellington, Vice President of Operations and Executive Director of St. Luke’s Amanda Thompson and St. Luke’s board member Linda Greensfelder.

Many gathered at Saturday’s ribbon-cutting. (Photo by Grant Langston)

“All of this is made possible by the Ann Jacob Toms Fund at Polk County Community Foundation,” said Amanda Thompson. “She was passionate about health and wellness and she loved to walk, so renovating this fitness trail, it was part of her mission for us to use these funds.” 

There are future plans for more upgrades to the trail next year. The trail will feature a new covered area for sitting and the trail surface will be redone with fresh gravel and mulch. The hospital also wants to continue to invite the community to walk the trail with departmental presentations again each quarter.