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Wellmark Foundation grant funds awarded to Burlington Area Community YMCA-YWCA

Grant, chosen from over 130 applicants, helps complete a bicycle/pedestrian path near new Edward Stone Middle School

October 31, 2013

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(Burlington, Iowa) – Today, the Wellmark Foundation and Burlington Area Community YMCA-YWCA held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of a trail completed by the Des Moines County Living Well Trail Connector project. Funded by a grant for $20,000 from the Wellmark Foundation, the project helped to close a 500-foot gap in the bicycle/pedestrian path near the new Edward Stone Middle School to promote active transportation and increased physical activity.

Des Moines County Living Well Trail Connector
This 500 foot trail section connects two existing short trail sections.  On a larger scale, this project creates one continuous trail that connects to the north to the one existing city bike route and trail.  It also provides a finished path for students walking and biking to Edward Stone Middle School. This trail will also serve as a catalyst for continued improvement and expansion of the bike/pedestrian trail system in the Burlington community.

Grant one of only ten selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2012 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received 135 grant requests seeking support for smaller community health projects. This grant award to the Burlington Area Community YMCA-YWCA represents one of ten competitively awarded grants to establish pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of over $190,000 to these ten grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The Des Moines County Living Well Trail Connector project offered a fairly simple solution for making active transportation a more feasible option while encouraging more physical activity in the community,” says Matt McGarvey, director of the Wellmark Foundation. “We are happy to support the YMCA-YWCA’s efforts with this grant.”

About Burlington Area Community YMCA-YWCA
In 2010 the Burlington Y received a Pioneering Healthier Communities grant which lead to the organization of Des Moines County Living Well Coalition. The Coalition adopted the following mission and vision:

  • Mission:  To create opportunities for every citizen to lead a healthy lifestyle by influencing sustainable policy and environmental changes that will make Des Moines County a healthier place to live.
  • Vision: To be a vibrant community where residents live a life focused on physical activity and healthy eating.

In November 2011 a community forum was held, with over 30 community members in attendance, to identify and prioritize areas of focus for the Coalition and to build support for our efforts. As a result of the forum a work plan was developed with two community initiatives and several action steps identified for each initiative. 

  • Increase awareness of and access to healthy eating options
  • Creation of community gardens
  • Marketing and public awareness focusing on physical activity and healthy eating
  • Improve facilities for bicyclist and pedestrians in the Greater Burlington Area
    • Creation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan
    • Increasing the number of on road bicycle facilities and multi use trails
    • Adopting a Complete Streets Policy

For more information on Des Moines County Living Well Trail Connector, contact Deb Mulch, 319.753.6734, For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit


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