Luzerne County, 05/22/2019: Do you want to learn more about Wilkes-Barre’s history, how to start a regular walking workout, where the YMCA branch that served the African-American community once stood and look inside a combined sewer overflow? Y Walk Wednesdays is a series of free, guided, early evening walks on Wednesdays throughout the summer that feature public works, history, walking and health, architecture, nature and new development in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
The walks are coordinated by the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA and are sponsored by Highmark and the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department. The purpose of the walks are to encourage people to get active outdoors over the summer. City Health Department funding came from the PA Department of Health’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant.
“This year we have 12 different walks scheduled, including old favorites, like Preservation Society and City Councilman Tony Brooks’ “Millionaires and Mansions”, and 5 new walks, including a tour of new development at Wilkes University, and a walk showcasing Wilkes-Barre’s African-American community, by Pastor Michael Brewster of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. There should be something to interest everyone,” said Jim Thomas, Executive Director, Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA.
All walks begin at 6:00pm, leaving from the lobby of the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, corner of South Franklin and West Northampton Streets. Walks are approximately 90 minutes long and are led by volunteer leaders. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water. In case of heavy rain or extreme heat, the walk is postponed until the same time the following evening. To confirm a walk or for questions, call the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA on a Wednesday between 5:00-5:30pm.
Y Walk Wednesdays are also featured events for the Northeast PA Chapter of “Get Your Tail on the Trail” fitness program, at tailonthetrail.org. Free parking for the walks in the Northampton Street parking lot (67 South Main Street), sponsored by the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor’s Trail Towns program, and funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, administered by the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. People using the Northampton Street lot for Y Walk Wednesdays should bring their parking ticket into the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA to be validated.
Schedules for the Walks are available to pick up at the YMCA, and at wbymca.org/schedules.
June 5 Walking Your Way to a Healthier You. Learn about the many ways that regular activity like walking can improve your physical and mental health; learn how to develop a healthy walking plan and avoid injury. Walk Leader: Holly Liguori, Erin Hackett, Pivot Physical Therapy.
June 12 Tour the Luzerne County Courthouse. The Luzerne County Courthouse is a newly restored neoclassical gem from Luzerne County’s coal baron period. Tour the people’s house and learn about what goes on inside. Walk Leader: Richard M. Hughes, III, President Judge.
June 19 Keeping the Susquehanna Out of Our Living Rooms. The Wyoming Valley Flood Protection levee system works hard to keep the Susquehanna's waters where they belong: in the river. Explore the inner and outer workings on the Agnes Flood anniversary (June 23rd, 1972). Walk Leader: Chris Belleman, Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority
June 26 Walking and Christianity in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Many denominations of Christian faith call downtown their home. Join the First Presbyterian Church, one of the first four denominations in the Wyoming Valley, in a walk exploring Christian places of worship in the southern part of Wilkes-Barre’s Downtown. Walk Leader: Matthew Schooley, First Presbyterian Church.
July 10 A Journey Through Kings College. Wander through Kings’ campus and surroundings and discover the history of the buildings and area and plans for new facilities and functions. Walk Leader: Dr. Paul Zbiek, Kings College
July 17 Millionaires and Mansions. An architectural and social history stroll past some of 19th and early 20th century homes of Wilkes-Barre's leading families. Visit Wilkes-Barre’s oldest house, and learn about plans to restore it. Walk Leader: Tony Brooks, Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society.
July 24 Walking Wilkes University. Enjoy a walk through Wilkes University and learn about the highlights, recent developments and history of the school, including a tour of the Wilkes University Polish Room. Walk Leader: Michael Wood, Wilkes University.
July 31 Native, Alien & Medicinal Plants of the Kirby Natural Area. Learn from folklore, history and science about the benefits, drawbacks, unique uses and special powers of the many plants that call Kirby Park’s wild, riparian woodland home. Walk Leader: Ken Klemow, Wilkes University.
August 7 LCTA Bus and Walk to the Murray Complex. Join the Luzerne County Transportation Authority in a bus ride to the Murray Complex to learn about how LCTA is modernizing its routes, signage, boarding/payment options, and headquarters, then walk back to the Y. Walk Leader: Norm Gavlick, LCTA
August 14 Storm and Sanitary Water Management in the Wyoming Valley. Learn about the importance of clean water, threats of stormwater pollution, and how to protect local waterways. Visit River Common Park. Walk Leader: Rob Krehely, WVSA
August 21 Wilkes-Barre’s African-American Community. Walk to the site of the former South Branch of the YMCA on South Main Street, originally serving the African-American community, and learn about Wilkes-Barre’s African-American community past and present. Walk Leader: Pastor Michael Brewster, Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
August 28 A Sidewalk View to Building a More Walkable Downtown. People use the word “Walkability,” but what does the term really mean? Learn what is making our city’s streetscapes safer, more efficient and more usable for all. Walk Leader: Larry Newman, Diamond City Partnership.
For more information, call the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, 570-823-2191, or visit www.wbymca.org or the Y’s Facebook page.