If you were in town lastweekend, you experienced a rush of bicycle enthusiasts for two major events our communities hosted. The Tour de Nebraska and the Robidoux Quick & Dirty brought 700 bicyclists to our communities. This highlights Nebraska’s increase in bicycle tourism and the pursuit of active lifestyles by Nebraskans.

Our pending pathway expansion is a crucial part of becoming what families look for when they move to a community. Both Scottsbluff and Gering are investing in making our communities great to live and work in. Businesses will tell you that recruitment efforts often fail because of a lack of amenities offered in the community - this includes recreational opportunities.

Having a $5.2 million dollar pathway expansion funded largely through state and federal dollars is a big deal! This doesn’t come along every year or even every decade. Please do not let property acquisition derail this initiative. I don’t discount problems along the way, but many neighborhoods in the Front Range and across the country see increased property value in having a home near or on a pathway system. Residents utilize paths to commute, to walk pets, and to meet neighbors and enjoy their landscape. We love to see people out using the canal roads for exercise - as one runs directly behind our home.

Many jobs now allow employees to work from anywhere. Why can’t anywhere be our Panhandle communities? If we want people to come here to live and love what we have to offer, then we have to invest in what attracts employees. We have a beautiful landscape, sunshine 300 days of the year, and wonderful people in the Panhandle. We need pathways to enjoy and connect with others in this community!

My husband and I live here because of all of the above and want to keep this community viable and sustainable for the future. The bicycle tourism we saw last weekend is just the beginning of what can happen. Nebraska is beautiful and people from all over the world will come visit us if we work to make it accessible to them. Pathways are part of that picture — let’s make this happen.

For more information on the benefits of pathways, the economic development of it all, and to see more about active living initiatives underway locally, please visit the Tri City Active Living Advisory Facebook page.

Kristin Wiebe

Scottsbluff

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