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Wilmington was challenged to become a “Fit Community.” So, how did that go?

Vicky Eckenrode

In 2009, Wilmington was designated as a Fit Community, a program to recognize efforts of cities and counties to promote physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco-free programs.

Wilmington’s designation – one of seven given out last year statewide — runs from 2009-2012.

In the past, there have been award ceremonies for the designees, but state budget constraints prohibited officials from holding them last year.

The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund oversees the designations.

Wilmington also received a $60,000 Fit Community grant last year to upgrade pedestrian and bicycle intersections along Ann Street as well as to pay for incentive programs. The initiative is part of a citywide bike boulevard plan on existing roads.

Some of the reasons Wilmington won the designation, according to the awarding group::

A signature project in progress has been the Cross City Trail, a 10-mile greenway that will run through downtown and provide new bicycle and pedestrian connections.

The city has a policy requirement that all new developments include sidewalks.

The city and Healthy Carolinians partnered to develop, mark and map three neighborhood walking courses.

The New Hanover Schools took all deep fryers out of all middle and elementary school kitchens, and now provide fresh fruit and vegetables daily.

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