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A $365,393 grant from the West Orange Healthcare District will help Oakland Nature Preserve replace an iconic boardwalk that will soon be known as the “Healthy West Orange Boardwalk at Oakland Nature Preserve.”
Originally built in 2002, the wooden boardwalk will be completely renovated with new, more durable composite decking along all 3,100 feet. The boardwalk, which crosses over uplands and wetlands and is home to a wide variety of flora, fauna and Florida wildlife, has become a fitness staple among local hikers, walkers and runners of all ages—especially active and aging seniors.
“Research suggests that having access to the outdoors motivates seniors to be active physically, spiritually and socially, which can offset chronic illness, disability and isolation,” said Oakland Nature Preserve Managing Director Jennifer Hunt. A 2015 scientific study in Vancouver found that green and “blue” spaces with running or still water promote feelings of renewal, restoration and spiritual connectedness, and provide places for multi-generational social interactions and engagement.
Hunt said the preserve already has commitments from three senior-living facilities in the area to make the new boardwalk part of their resident walking programs, including Sonata West and Golden Pond in Winter Garden, and Madison at Ocoee.
“We’re excited that these improvements will enhance and expand programming for seniors and ensure residents of west orange have access to this beautiful resource for years to come,” said West Orange Healthcare District CEO Tracy Swanson.
About the West Orange Healthcare District
The West Orange Healthcare District (WOHD) is an independent special healthcare district created in 1949 by the Florida Legislature and governed by a 16-member, volunteer board appointed by the Governor of Florida. Now in its 71st year, the District has awarded more than $180 million in local community grants to enhance residents’ health and wellness. For more, visit www.wohd1949.org.