While opponents of investing in our nation's biking and walking infrastructure try to convince us that trails, bike lanes and sidewalks are frivolous and nonessential, America's business leaders continue to understand the importance of these lifestyle assets to a productive workforce.
Just ask the South Carolina-based company ACS Technologies, which this week opened a half-mile walking trail, built and paid for by the company, through their 14-acre Florence campus.
A local news blog called the new trail "a great stride for its employees' health and well-being," and wrote that Dean Lisenby, executive director of information technology at ACS, spearheaded the project about a year ago to increase the wellness of the 300 employees at the company's campus.
ACS was inspired to create the trail by studies that show that walking during the middle of the day, even for just 10 or 15 minutes, increases energy and worker productivity.
Even better news for ACS employees and the residents of Florence--the ACS trail will soon connect to the city's own rail-trail system, which spans two miles between the Ebenezer Park neighborhood and a local health and fitness center.
"The initial goal was just to make a place for ACS employees, ACS Technologies employees to walk, and have an opportunity to have a healthier lifestyle," Lisenby told SCNow.com. "Once we began the process, we realized the city would be interested in connecting it to the rail-trail system, so we reached out to them and they've been very helpful and working with us. The goal is eventually to let the entire Florence community use it as part of the Rail Trail system."
Florence City Manager Drew Griffin says the city's research found that for potential residents 50-year-olds or older, the most-demanded local amenity is accessibility to a greenway or a trail system.
"When you look at cities, and when you look at what makes them a great place to live and play, almost in every case what do they talk about? They talk about their greenways, their park systems and entertainment," Griffin says
Congratulations to ACS, and the city of Florence, S.C. You're on the right track to a healthier, happier and more economically robust community.