Community center path opens for walkers

Sep 24, 2021

MARION — After about a month and a half of construction, the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center’s new walking path is open for all to take a stroll.

The 200-meter path, opened to the public on Sept. 24, follows the inside perimeter of the community center lawn, passing by the front of the building and VFW monument.

Council on Aging Board Chair Harry Norweb said the path is intended to provide “an ability to get out and walk” to the community. He noted that many of the sidewalks in Marion Center are too uneven and treacherous for some walkers.

Norweb said the path took around three years to plan and execute, “from the time we first started batting the idea: ‘Can we build a park here?’”

The path is the first of a number of planned alterations to the community center, including a pavilion inside the perimeter of the walking path — for which the Friends of the Marion Council on Aging are actively fundraising.

“We didn’t know how much traction we could get,” Norweb said, for building a park on the community center lawn. But when a tent was placed at the center last year, he said it was put to great use and helped highlight the need for an outside gathering place at the community center.

The fundraising goal for the planned pavilion was originally set at $150,000. But a new quote drove the projected cost up to $180,000, Norweb said, due to a widespread hike in materials costs.

Still, Norweb said of the fundraising effort, “I would say it’s about two-thirds of the way there.”

Other planned improvements to the community center include grass cleanup and living hedges and trees to block sound from Route 6.