Flat Lick Community gets new walking track

Included at the Friday, Nov. 21, ribbon cutting ceremony for the Flat Lick walking track were Steve Partin, Flat Lick Elementary principal, Community members Wilma Gray, Kathy Davis and Linda Setzer, Flat Lick Instructional Assistant Betty Heck, teachers Tony Patterson and Dennis Chavies, Knox County Schools Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, Knox County Board Member Charles Merida and his grandchildren Jacob and Tyler Merida and Jenna Patterson, Knox Schools Facilities Coordinator Kim Merida, Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall, Spread the Health representative Belinda Pritchard, and Todd Green of Hinkle Contracting. Not pictured were walking track fundraisers
Included at the Friday, Nov. 21, ribbon cutting ceremony for the Flat Lick walking track were Steve Partin, Flat Lick Elementary principal, Community members Wilma Gray, Kathy Davis and Linda Setzer, Flat Lick Instructional Assistant Betty Heck, teachers Tony Patterson and Dennis Chavies, Knox County Schools Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, Knox County Board Member Charles Merida and his grandchildren Jacob and Tyler Merida and Jenna Patterson, Knox Schools Facilities Coordinator Kim Merida, Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall, Spread the Health representative Belinda Pritchard, and Todd Green of Hinkle Contracting. Not pictured were walking track fundraisers

Special to the Mountain Advocate

Community residents and students alike are excited about the new walking track installed on the grounds of Flat Lick Elementary School. As a Shared-Use initiative, the Knox County Public Schools and the Knox County Fiscal Court see the benefit of joining together to offer a safe environment for physical activity for students and community members.

The project was made possible by a $5,000 Community Transformation Grant sponsored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and received by Microclinic International (MCI), a San Francisco based company who focused their efforts to improve health and reduce chronic disease in the Cumberland Valley region.   

“Spread the Health Appalachia” was formed through partnerships between MCI and local health departments in the region. Spread the Health Appalachia worked in Knox County through the health department and the Knox County Health Coalition.

Flat Lick community members Wilma Gray, Linda Seltzer, Kathy Davis, Ethel Brock and Geraldine Mills became involved in fundraising, which was needed for completion of the project. Flat Lick students joined in the cause and also made a sizeable contribution.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the ladies in finishing the project,” said Steve Partin, Flat Lick School principal. We are so fortunate to have people in our community to parent with us on something that not only benefits the school, but the community itself. When both parties benefit, it seems more people are willing to help.”

“It’s amazing how people are willing to help and get involved just so that their community can be a better place to live,” said Wilma Gray. “We were able to raise the whole $3,000 we needed in only five days. All we did was share the need with our friends and family, and they all contributed a little here and there until we had what we needed to complete the project.”

M & D Contracting donated the use of equipment and Charles Merida volunteered his time for excavating. The walking track now completes a circle around the school and will be open for community use when school is not in session.

“This is just one more step in getting our communities more physically active,” said Belinda Pritchard. “As the saying goes, “It takes a village,” and Spread the Health Appalachia could not have completed these projects, neither the DeWitt nor the Flat Lick walking tracks, without the combined efforts of the Knox County Public Schools, the Knox County Fiscal Court, and the community members themselves.”

Bobbie Poynter contributed to this story.