Starting this fall, residents walking the paths of Kleiner Park will be able to read a story as they stroll.
The Meridian Library District is constructing “Memory Lane: A Story Trail for Seniors” on the walking trail outside of the Meridian Senior Center in Kleiner Park. Each of the trail’s 16 posts will have two pages of a picture book that was popular decades ago when older patrons were children.
“You walk from post to post to read the full story,” said Megan Egbert, library district programs manager. She said Memory Lane will “create intergenerational opportunities to share a love for books and readings, and help families create memories around books.”
Egbert said reading picture books from someone’s childhood can also help with memory loss. The library district hosts a monthly meeting for Alzheimer’s patients and their caretakers, where they read through nostalgic books to help jog their memory.
The library will change out the picture book every quarter, Egbert said. Library staff haven’t decided on the first book yet. Staff plan to make the path around one-fourth of a mile long or shorter.
“When Gene Kleiner donated this park, he wanted more memories created and passive activities where you can reflect and contemplate,” Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said.
Last month, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health awarded the library district with a $20,800 grant to build Memory Lane. The grant was one of 11 the Meridian-based insurance company’s foundation chose to fund through its Employee Community Fund.
This year the company’s 1,100 employees donated more than $232,000 to the fund, which was matched by Blue Cross of Idaho. A committee of employees chose 11 grants to sponsor using $307,000 of the total $462,000 in the fund. The rest of the fund was donated to several Idaho nonprofits.
Blue Cross of Idaho Financial Systems Analyst Stacy Rambough was on the committee. She said she was particularly passionate about the library’s project because it honored the city’s older generation.
“We are not forgetting a generation,” Rambough said. “We are showing what this generation is about.”
The library district has been having conversations with the city about building a story trail for about four years, but didn’t have the funding to do so until they received this grant, Egbert said.
Meridian Library District Director Gretchen Caserotti said the path would emphasize reading as a timeless activity — one of the early literacy foundations.