Some Christian Co. health board members balk at director’s idea of using $100,000 of $2.4 million reserve for recreational trail

The director of the Christian County Health Department urged its board to give $100,000 from reserves to fund a rail-to-trail project to provide residents with new opportunities for exercise.

Coverting old railroad beds to recreation trails could help improve Christian County’s infrastructure to promote healthy living, which is needed because a study last year ranked Christian County 116th out of Kentucky’s 120 counties in this area, said Health Department Director Mark Pyle.

The department has $2.4 million in reserve, but several board members opposed the idea, citing a budget shortfall this fiscal year, financial troubles with the school-nurse program and delays in Medicaid reimbursements, reports Nick Tabor of the Kentucky New Era.

The City of Hopkinsville hopes to raise $400,000 for the first phase of the trail project. A recreational trail would initiate a culture change and residents should have public resources equal to those of other regions, Mayor Dan Kemp told Taylor.

Pyle told Tabor the trail would help the health department accomplish its goal of advancing public health, and the reserve money isn’t there for sitting on. He said he believes the board will agree to using the money for the project at its next meeting, April 22, after considering funding priorities.

The New Era endorsed the health department’s contribution as a good investment in local health, which by law is the health board’s responsibility. For a PDF of the editorial and the news story, click here.

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