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Here's to You: Walkers move indoors

Bob and Ireta Larson take advantage of the early morning walking program at The Sanford Center before their day begins. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

During early brainstorming sessions for what would eventually become the event center, some residents of the public asked that it be open for walking.

They got their wish.

The Sanford Center has opened its doors to host free walking from 7:30-9 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"I wish it was open every day," said Shirley Batchelder, a regular walker at the event center. "I would love it.

She said her husband visits the Gillett Recreation-Fitness Center every morning, but she likes the idea of visiting The Sanford Center, just two miles from her home, much better.

Batchelder said she lives near a bike trail and walks outside whenever the weather cooperates, but appreciates the chance to walk indoors away from snow and ice.

"I kind of rearranged my schedule so I can come here (to The Sanford Center) every Monday it's open for walking," she said.

Other walkers said it was a nice building to walk around, especially with the terrazzo floor, which brightly depicts the nature of the region.

"It's kind of nice walking in here," said Paula Sadek. "It's a nice atmosphere."

Sadek was walking earlier this month with her sister, mom, dad, and niece and nephew, who were pushed around the facility in umbrella strollers.

Samantha Parker, the event coordinator for the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department, said there were 25 people who attended the first day of walking and 22 on the second.

"I'm thrilled," she said of the turnout.

The Parks and Recreation Department has been working with staff at The Sanford Center to organize such a walking schedule.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays were chosen, she said, because there will not be Monday holiday conflicts and the dates work well with already scheduled events.

The walking will continue inside The Sanford Center until May. 4.