What are they thinking ... or are they? It is amazing to me that Paducah is entertaining the idea of a Blue Zone community to the tune of $5 million to $7 million. I hope Mayor Harless has enticed a corporate sponsor and is not expecting the taxpayers to foot the bill. Is the mayor's mentor, Commissioner Alan Rhodes, who has been historically frugal, in favor of such a large expenditure if the taxpayer is asked to foot the bill?
I would be interested to know how they arrived at the conclusion that Paducah is ready for such a makeover. Why are we not using existing organizations, such as the Purchase District Health Department, McCracken County Extension Cooperative Services, and faith-based organizations?
A recent article in The Paducah Sun pointed out the fact that people with diabetes barely took advantage of the valuable free diabetes education offered through the health department. What is the hard evidence that a Blue Zone would be welcomed here? What percentage of the population is it expected to reach and what are the anticipated outcomes?
Paducah just completed a community playground built by volunteers and local organizations. We have the Greenway Trail. Noble Park has a fitness trail. We have lots of sidewalks for our citizens to use. Wouldn't it be better to encourage the use of these facilities?
Also, nutrition classes could be taught by the organizations already mentioned. We could encourage restaurants to offer heart-healthy choices.
If we are at a "tipping point" for better lifestyles, increased activities, and better nutrition, why not engage local, established organizations in the business of encouraging healthier lifestyles, ones that are already paid for by taxpayer dollars?
Perhaps the mayor could use her exceptional leadership skills to mobilize such an effort utilizing existing organizations. She could create a model to increase the overall health of our community without spending big bucks.