NUNDA — Being the first of its kind in the county, the Nunda self-guided walking history tour was a major success.

 

UR Medicine/Noyes Health, Livingston County Health Department, Genesee Valley Health, and Nunda Historical Society all partnered up to usher in the “Be Well in Livingston” initiative.

 

On March 18 the organizations kicked off the tour with a ceremony. Upon arrival everyone got a brochure outlining the various stops along the history walking tour, and some information about each stop. There is also a chance to win a $100 gift certificate until April 20. The 1.5 mile self-guided walking tour is available all year round, and can be taken at your own leisure.

 

UR Medicine/ Noyes Health Community Outreach Services Director Patty Piper helped to spearhead this event with focus groups last year.

 

Livingston County is voted the top 10 healthiest counties in the state, based on the County Health Rankings in the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

 

“Our health is impacted by many things beyond medical care, including housing, education, and jobs,” Piper said. “The approach we are using in Livingston County is to address the nationwide obesity epidemic by using the ‘Be Well in Livingston’ model.”

 

Every three years the health organizations get together to determine the overall health of the county, and what they can do to make it better. The top three health priorities are chronic disease prevention, mental health promotion and substance abuse prevention, and fall prevention for older adults.

 

This year’s focus is on obesity prevention, and its main focus is Nunda, Mount Morris, and Dansville. Statistics rate these three communities as being in the most need for obesity prevention. Data was used for obesity rates, smoking rates, poverty rates, fast food and sugary drink consumption, and activity rates.

 

“We chose the greater Nunda area as our first focus group for many reasons,” Piper said. “Nunda has a great sense of community, care and concern for people in need, the school and churches are the heart of the community, and great local resources such as Kiwanis Park, Finger Lakes Trails, local grocery stores, and an active volunteer fire department.”

 

There were 13 focus groups put together once Nunda was chosen as the first to take on “Be Well in Livingston.”

 

“Nunda Historic Walk was a project that ‘Be Well in Livingston’ has supported as part of increasing physical activity in the community,” Piper said. “We know we must all work together to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle.”

 

This was a county-wide effort to put together the event through a look at our local history, and the people that continue to flourish.

 

“Remember building a healthy community requires a widespread effort,” Piper said. “Our goal is to support Nunda’s needs to make sustainable changes geared toward living a healthy balanced life. Together we can build a path to wellness in Nunda.”

 

Wayland Supervisor Marylee Walker said she was happy to see so many people come out for the walk.

 

“I am glad they chose Nunda. We kind of get forgotten in the southern part of the county,” she said. “I like to see something positive about Nunda rather than the negative stories we usually see. I am excited, and want to get right out there and walk.”

 

Wayland Mayor Bob Cox said the local governments, county health department, hospital, and historical society all came together for this event.

 

“I hope you enjoy this walking tour, and the history as you walk through our village,” he said.

 

Nunda Historical Society President Tom Cook welcomed everyone who came out for the kickoff ceremony.

 

“This project not only promotes physical wellness, but also encourages mental health,” he said. “As participants take this journey into the past they will actively learn new things, exercise their observation skills, practice awareness, and use their imaginations to step back in time.”

 

“In addition learning the history of one’s community in their county promotes a feeling of being connected. Belonging is another important aspect of mental wellness,” Cook continued. “We hope to create additional self-guided history tours in the future.”

 

Cook added that many of the local business have saved their community’s history by preserving what once was. This is one of the things Nunda is proud to be known for.

 

Nunda resident Tom Byrnes offered some interesting insight on the tour as he knew most of the original stories attached to various stops. Byrnes Pharmacy (now Nunda Family Pharmacy) was owned by him, his father Paul, and younger brother, Jim for over 70 years.

 

“I remember Nunda’s glory days. I grew up here and raised my kids here,” he said. “I am 100 percent for this history walking tour. I watched TV at the judge's house when he had the first TV in the town. I played in the abandoned church with my friends across from the Nunda United Methodist Church. It was a beautiful church.”

 

The 17 stops include the following: Nunda Historical Society (Knife Factory), Nunda Village Building, Nunda Family Pharmacy (Farmer’s Exchange), Enchanted Ink (Merchants Row), Keshequa Central School, United Methodist Church, Bell Memorial Library (Nunda Theater), Livingston House, Carter Memorial Building, Union Block, Nunda Government Center (DePuy Mansion), Foote Company, Canal Lock, Oakwood Cemetery, Genesee Valley Canal Warehouse, Richmond House, and Gibbs House.

 

For more information visit www.nundahistory,org and www.gvhp.org

 

The future historical walking tours may be on the way in 2019 at Mount Morris or Dansville.