Geneva in Motion aims to make town more walkable, raising funds for phase one

GENEVA, NE — A grassroots group in southeast Nebraska is taking big steps to make its community more walkable.

Geneva in Motion started as a townhall meeting two years ago and is now actively applying for grants and raising funds for its project. Fillmore County Hospital Wellness Coordinator Jenni Hoarty says the project has two goals: make safe routes to schools and improve sidewalk connectivity.

“We don’t have a lot of connecting sidewalks and some of them are pretty broken up," Hoarty said. "So what we’re trying to do is connect key locations in order for pedestrians to walk safely.”

The group is gathering funds for phase one right now, a 3/4-mile sidewalk stretching from the hospital’s existing path to Fillmore Central High School. It carries a $160,000 price tag but the hospital foundation has already chipped in $15,000. The hospital also just paved an eight-foot-wide sidewalk on a city block just west of its campus.

Hoarty says safety is the primary goal of the project.

“We want to have everything accessible for every walk of life from your youth, to your wheelchair-bound, to your older adults," Hoarty said. "We want to have a safer route for people to get around Geneva.”

If phase one goes well, the group will look at connecting key spots in the west side of town next. Hoarty says helping the project is a way to show town pride.

“I think that it’s a benefit and it will bring people to Geneva," Hoarty said. "So we’ll have more visitors coming here as well to walk around Geneva and hopefully that will get down to our business district too.”

Geneva in Motion hopes to start laying down path in the spring.