More than 100 people helped kick off a campaign to promote walking around Port Washington to support local businesses on Sunday.
The initiative created 16 signs scattered around a one-mile radius of the North Hempstead Town Dock, located on Port Washington’s Main Street. On Sunday, the partnership between the nonprofit community organization Residents Forward, the Town of North Hempstead and other organizations in the community resulted in the first “Let’s Walk PW” event, which the organizers hope to hold annually.
Among those in attendance were state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills), Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington), Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Town Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte and Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell. Representatives from Residents Forward, the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Port Washington Business District, the Port Washington Public Library, the Cow Neck Historical Society and others also attended.
Residents Forward board member and project leader Mindy Germain said the main goal of the campaign is to get people out of their cars to increase foot traffic for all of the local businesses looking to recoup financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I love this project because it just makes sense,” Germain said on Sunday. “It keeps our air clean, our bodies healthy and is devoid of two things we all hate – parking and traffic. But we are all guilty of getting in the car … We perceive things as further away than they really are. The job of Let’s Walk PW is to remind people that great things are closer than you think.”
The signs, created by local graphic designer Michelle Shain, indicate how long a walk is to various destinations throughout the Port Washington area. With colorful depictions of feet in hiking boots, flip flops, high heels and sneakers, each sign highlights one of the activities residents and visitors can partake in without having to get in a car.
“This campaign is about the people of Port Washington,” Shain said. “They are all ages, income brackets and colors. They fancy different interests, tastes and hobbies. We’ve used their individual footsteps to educate people about the proximity of our town’s diverse offerings.”
Each sign contains a QR code that links walkers to an interactive map created by the Port Washington Business Improvement District, providing more information and walking directions to various destinations in the community.
“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to change pedestrian life,” Germain said. “We were hearing from our members that they want more walkable routes to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment around our waterfront and business districts.”
“Let’s Walk PW brings vibrancy to Port,” Jennifer Rimmer of the Rimmer Family Foundation said. “The program guides Port residents and visitors to explore, shop and support our community.”