heal spotlight: Middleburg, Virgnina
Participants and event organizers at the 2018 HEAL Expo and 5K Race. Photo source: https://bit.ly/2QtkSxL
In 2015, Kathy Jo Shea, who at that time was Go Green Middleburg’s Town Council representative, introduced the HEAL Resolution to the Town of Middleburg. The Resolution passed in the Town Council with unanimous and enthusiastic support. Throughout the past four years, the HEAL Campaign has been implemented through the Town’s Go Green Committee, a Town initiative that holds complimentary goals to “promote and enhance a culture of energy use reduction, environmental sustainability and the overall health and wellness of its citizenry.”
The Town’s Go Green Committee, helped the Town reach HEAL’s Gold Level at the 2017 Virginia Municipal League Conference. The 2017 Gold award acknowledged the Town’s successful completion of three HEAL initiatives, including: The Go Green Committee’s organization of the first annual Health Fair and 5K run, the Town’s increased participation at the local farmer’s market, and the improvement of walkability and safety through the completion of a major traffic calming project along Route 50, which runs through the center of this historic and charming Town.
“Middleburg is one of those towns that you can actually walk around,” commented Peter Leonard-Morgan, Go Green’s Town Council Representative. “There are so many towns and cities where you have to jump in the car to go somewhere. But here in Middleburg, it’s all walkable.” In 2017, the Virginia Department of Transportation completed a traffic-calming project along Route 50, which included curb extensions, bump-outs and brick paved sidewalks. At the same time new dark-sky lighting was installed. This project was a significant accomplishment – furthering the town’s efforts to create a safer environment for residents and visitors to walk.
The Town’s annual Health Fair and 5K race is an event to raise awareness to the many health and wellness opportunities within the Town. Since 2017, the Go Green Committee, chaired by Rebecca Poston, has organized an annual 5K race and Health Fair at the Town’s Community Center. The event kicks off with a morning 5K that takes runners and walkers on a scenic route from the Town Community Center, down a country road and through the Salamander Resort and Spa returning to the Community Center. Following the race, participants and guests are welcomed inside the Community Center for the awards ceremony and the launch of the Health Fair. The Fair includes speakers presenting on various health related topics, sample fitness and health classes and exhibitor booths providing opportunities to learn more about the community’s healthy eating and active living offerings. Go Green Members Lindsay Watts and Tonya Taylor are currently organizing the third annual Health Fair with Teri Domanski organizing the 5k. This year’s event will be held at Middleburg’s Community Center on March 30, 2019.
As a rural equestrian community, health is an important aspect of the Town’s culture and industry. “It’s a lifestyle throughout the entire community,” said Ms. Poston. “In general people really think about exercising and eating better.” Through an active farmers market, area farm to table restaurants, and outdoor recreation, the Go Green Committee, Town Council, and Town staff are eager to continue exploring new ideas to increase opportunities for residents, visitors, and employees to eat better and move more.