Officials celebrate new walking trails

Sedgwick County commissioners Dave Unruh and Tim Norton traded in their dress shoes for tennis shoes Wednesday.

Unruh, Norton, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, Haysville Mayor Ken Hampton and trail organizer Richard Schodorf met outside of the Historic County Courthouse to celebrate the newly themed walking trails in downtown Wichita and Haysville.

"They give people a reason to walk and to appreciate Kansas and its accomplishments," Schodorf said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in front of one of the Sports Trail signs. Each sign has a fact that corresponds with the trail's theme. One sign has words from former Temple coach John Chaney talking about a pro-Carolina crowd they would face in a tournament.

"We've played in tougher places. At Wichita State, those fans would stand up and clap at the beginning of each half and until their team scores, they don't sit down. We had 'em clapping for four minutes one time and I think everybody had a knife but us. That was a tough place to play."

The Sports Trail is one of nine trails in Wichita, including art, historical, exploration, African American, American Indian, the people of Kansas, poets and the Tallgrass Film Festival. Haysville's downtown hosts the magic and sesquicentennial trails. Most trails are two miles long.

"These trails help promote cultural and entertainment venues," Unruh said. "We're encouraging people to get out and walk. We've created a community exercise program that everyone can take part in."

To kick off the new trails, employees from Sedgwick County, the city of Wichita and the city of Haysville will compete to see who can walk the most miles from Wednesday to Sept. 30.

"It's something fun, healthy and educational," Brewer said. "There is something for each and every person."

For more information or to see a map of the trails, go to www.sedgwickcounty.org.