A group of like-minded health and wellness advocates are looking for local support to help attract The National Walking Summit’s International Summit to Buffalo in 2019. According to a couple of the local committee members, Philip Haberstro and Sarah K Martin of the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo, the summit would attract 700 local and out-of-town guests, including city planners, transportation experts, public health staff, community walkability/pedestrian safety advocates, and elected officials.
As Buffalo continues to hone itself as a walkable city, the time could not be better to be recognized as a city that hosts the The National Walking Summit. The summit has previously been held in Washington, DC, and St. Paul, Minnesota, among many others. Local advocates say that Katharine Kraft, Executive Director of America Walks, based in Portland, Oregon, has expressed an interest in Buffalo as host city, but it’s going to take additional efforts to secure the deal.
“The Western New York community has shown the need for a concentrated focus on developing a walkable community culture and stronger local advocacy. Walking is the single physical activity that requires no particular skills and is available to all ages and backgrounds. We’d like to highlight this by coming to Buffalo next year,” explains Dr. Kraft.
Ultimately, the multi-day event would see advocates for walkable cities descend upon Buffalo to participate in workshops, a community-wide walking challenge, and other participatory events and activities. Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) staff, and community leaders Paul Maurer and Mike Billoni, will be helping to coordinate the event details, if Buffalo if chosen as the host city. Buffalo could certainly benefit from this summit, by bringing added attention to the importance of creating walkable neighborhoods throughout the region.
“We’re eager to showcase our region in 2019 as one that has all the attributes of a walk-able community, both in Buffalo’s diverse neighborhoods, our suburbs, and rural communities”, remarks Haberstro. “The visit by so many professionals engaged in best practices for a robust city-on-the-move will be very good for us to experience! Any organization, business, college, media, or foundation that is involved in health promotion, health insurance, transportation, engineering, and walkable community planning activities would be perfect for sponsorship of the International Walking Summit.”
For information and to offer local support for the 2019 International Walking Summit, please contact Mr. Haberstro at (716) 851 4052 or email BeActive@city-buffalo.org For more info on America Walks mission please visit AmericaWalks.org. A new local advocacy Facebook page is now active for WNY ‘s walkable communities movement and walking at Facebook.com/WalkBuffaloNiagara.