Residents Forward’s Board of Directors and staff, along with various local elected officials and more than 100 residents, recently gathered at the Town Dock for the launch of “Let’s Walk PW,” a re-designed national web-integrated sinage campaign created to get feet on the street and cash registers ringing. The campaign encourages residents and visitors to walk instead of driving to local businesses and attractions in an effort to boost local business, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance people’s overall health and wellness.
Prior to the creation of this campaign, Residents Forward surveyed members of the community and discovered that they were looking for more walkable shopping and dining routes along the waterfront and on Main Street.
“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to change pedestrian life,” Mindy Germain, Residents Forward board member and project leader 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.”
The creation of this project took almost a year of planning—from the creation and design of the signage, to the execution of the event itself. With help from the Town of North Hempstead, Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte and the Town’s Highway Department, Residents Forward was able to place 15 “Let’s Walk PW” signs about a mile from Town Dock. These signs will serve as a permanent reminder to residents that special destinations such as shops, restaurants, parks, community gardens, history and entertainment are closer than they think and accessible by foot. Each sign contains a QR code linking walkers to an interactive map created by the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District, which accesses more information and walking directions to the abundance of walkable destinations around town.
The campaign was designed by local graphic designer Michelle Shain, who used the signs as a way to capture the true essence of the people of Port Washington.
“This campaign is about the people of Port Washington,” Shain stated. “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.”
“There are all different types of people who live in Port Washington,” Patricia Class, executive director of Residents Forward, said. “If you look at the signs, there are all different types of feet, different types of shoes, people doing different things. We really wanted to make it an all inclusive thing that inspired everyone.”
During the event, guests walked with a DJ from the Town Dock up Main Street to Blumenfeld Park, where they received a coupon for a free ice cream cone, participated in a raffle to win gift cards to local businesses and a “Let’s Walk PW” sticker.
From there, guests were invited to walk, shop and dine for a chance to win $10 off in participating stores.
“I love this project because it just makes sense,” Germain said. “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. Why? 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 Rimmer Family Foundation, who sponsored this event, chose to do so because they “wanted to invest in a project that brings community partners together to boost Port’s local merchants, hit so hard by the shut down and lingering pandemic.” Working with the Foundation, The Port Washington BID, The Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, The Town of North Hempstead, The Cow Neck Historical Society, Transition Town Port Washington and the Port Washington Public Library, the “Let’s Walk PW” campaign was developed.
“My family is happy to support Let’s Walk PW,” Jennifer Rimmer said in a statement. “Let’s Walk PW brings vibrancy to Port. The program guides Port residents and visitors to explore, shop and support our community.”
While the signs are permanently placed throughout Port Washington, the Residents Forward board is hoping that they will be able to continue this initiative.
“Everyone who worked on this campaign is going to meet soon to talk about how we can take this to the next level and [figure out] what we can do next with this initiative since the signs have already been placed,” Class said. “Stayed tuned for more to come.”
Class encourages residents in the community who are interested in helping to further this initiative to reach out with their ideas.
“Residents Forward is always looking for new people to participate,” Class said. “If you have ideas or things that you want to see in our community, give us a call at our office. We love when people bring us ideas.”
Community members who are interested can contact the Residents Forward office at 516-767-9151 or contact Patricia Class at firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents Forward will be holding their annual meeting on Nov. 8, all community members are welcome to attend. For more information about Residents Forward or their initiatives, visit residentsforward.org.