The President’s Message

February 2015The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood

Envision a warm summer day – probably not difficult to do in early February. As you do, take a look at all the people out on the sidewalks walking, running or biking. 

I walk through our neighborhood nearly every day, sometimes with my wife, always with my two dogs. As I do, I see a lot of people doing the same, out for a simple stroll with their dogs and of course the ever-present runners. A recent stroll along Moss Avenue and through the neighborhood got me thinking about how walkable our neighborhood really is.

I am certain you’ve heard the term “walkable” used in the media before. The city of Peoria is working to make many sections of our city “walkable” including the Main Street corridor.  Besides being an economic driver, a walkable neighborhood is more importantly a quality of life issue. 

Walkability is defined as a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Walkability has many health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability include the presence of sidewalks or other pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic, and safety, among others.

Walkable neighborhoods are great on many levels. A recent study probed how walks mitigate aging and stimulate our minds even if one has degenerative problems. A daily walk or two improves mental acuity and vitalizes the walker. Walking is particularly useful as a daily activity of aging adults and seems to keep cognitive decline at bay. My guess is that this also help with the cognitive functions of not-so-elderly adults and children as well. 

And it goes without saying that a walkable neighborhood contributes to the physical well being of our neighbors. People who live in neighborhoods that are conducive to walking experienced a substantially lower rate of obesity, overweight and diabetes than those who lived in more auto-dependent neighborhoods, according to a pair of studies presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 74th Scientific Sessions®. Health benefits abound!

Having a destination worth walking to in the neighborhood is another advantage and will inspire more walks. 

A nice, walkable neighborhood is a tremendous value that cannot be quantified by calculating transportation and time savings. The positive impacts on the community, environment and health are priceless.

Brian Buralli

The February Review (2015)

 by Bonnie Mason

2015 ~ Seems like only a minute ago people were worried about Y2K – I can’t honestly remember what it even meant and I never really worried about what would happen – I was sure some brilliant soul who cared far more than I, would solve whatever problems resulted and life would go on…And here we are, 2015…All I know for sure is that time flies and it is a good idea to a have fun, to enjoy life – Don’t be so hard on people, appreciate the uniqueness in, and be very kind to your fellow man. Amen. 

M. CarterI found a book that I absolutely fell in love with recently entitled A Perfectly Kept House Is the Sign of A Misspent Life written by Mary Randolph Carter. This book talks about living creatively with all kinds of things I have including pets, clutter, collections and work and “stop worrying about everything being perfectly in it’s place.” Filled with fabulous photos of wonderful stuff and comments like “I don’t really collect, I ‘m attracted to things, I get them, and they accumulate”. The author encourages us to use the best of everything we have – the text provides enjoyable reading – what a great book! Page after page, chapter after chapter of “Living with” food, fashion, dogs, children, obsession. Published by Rizzoli International, in 2010, hardcover, the book sells for $55.00.

N. PealeSo many books I would love to suggest, so little space and time: Another book I love is Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale. Someone gave me a copy of this little “blurb-a-day” book years ago which I have faithfully read (it’s literally falling apart). Reading the day’s thought takes less than a minute and can completely change my outlook by reminding me that “attitude is everything”. Sort of enhances that “life is short so enjoy” outlook and it’s a great little gift. Published by Simon & Schuster, paperback it sells for $14.95.

Sticker BooksAnd finally, every little interior decorator (of any age, I, of course, own them) needs the  Usborne Dollhouse Sticker Book and Victorian Dollhouse Sticker Book. Filled with beautifully illustrated rooms and detailed stickers galore these colorful activity books will provide hours of decorating fun and sell for only $8.99 each.

I see Spring on the horizon! It is no longer pitch black at five o’clock – the sun (when it’s out) is with us longer! Another six weeks and March will be howling in – porch season isn’t that far away… So cuddle up, light a fire and enjoy the rest of winter. Grab a quilt and read a good book!

Message from Councilman Chuck Grayeb

chuck-grayebHappy 2015! Exciting news awaits us as our Fortune 25 global corporation

considers its future in our city and country. The new year looks bright. Many exciting building projects loom which mean jobs for our people. We do have a challenge with Washington School again being available for sale. A new intergovernmental agreement will be approved allowing us to begin anew our nationwide search for an appropriate suitor. Traffic analysis will continue to inform us on additional measures we need to consider,  to further calm our neighborhoods. We will see the rebuilding of University Street from Nebraska to War Memorial Drive, as well as the reconstruction of Sheridan  Road  from Richmond to McClure. Progress continues as we grow greener as our City meets EPA standards. This means much opportunity for District Two where we have already built rain gardens at Main and University Streets. District Two will continue to be a leader in creating a new design for urban living.

Best to all in the New Year!

The Latest from Westminster Presbyterian Church

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1420 West Moss Avenue, is celebrating Valentine’s Day a day early … on Friday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. with a Cabaret Concert featuring the Westminster Choir, our choral scholars, and a number of members and friends singing love songs from the Great American Song Book.  Featured are the great love songs of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as standard songs that have been beloved by Americans since the 1940’s.  The program is presented by the Gretchen Iben Series of Westminster Church.  A number of well known singers in the area join with Joshua Hearn at the piano to enrich the event. We’re even hosting a jazz combo to give the program even more sparkle!

And speaking of rich … we will be sitting around tables in the Fellowship Hall of the Parish House, directly across from the church.  This is the space where the Moss-Bradley Association holds their meetings.  Tables will be decorated in red and white, and you will be greeted with coffee and other beverages (both full strength and decaf) on the tables for your enjoyment.  At the intermission, gourmet desserts will be served.  After a time of enjoying the goodies around the tables, the program will continue … and the servers will keep the dessert plates full throughout the second half of the event so you can enjoy food and music together in a festive atmosphere.

This event is free of charge … but with a couple of caveats!  So we can plan on needed food supplies, you need to make a reservation, or pick up a ticket at the church office, or after church on Sunday mornings between now and the date of the event.  We do have a limited seating because of the size of the room, so please call the church office to reserve your seat as soon as possible.  You can reach the church office at 676.8841. At the performance there will be baskets on the table, and if you so choose, we suggest a $5 donation, simply to help cover the costs of the food.  We hope this modest charge will help lots of folks take an evening out at join us at Westminster for a wonderful evening of music in the mid-winter!

Questions?  Contact Tom Clark-Jones, chair of the Iben Series for the church at either the number listed above for the church office or by calling 717.503.8929.  Hope to see you and your special date of February 13.