City of Perris representatives cut the ribbon on a hike-and-bike trail at Morgan Park Oct. 27, completing the first phase of a route that will run through the entire community within a couple of years.
About 60 hikers and bikers christened the Perris Valley Trail at the early-morning opening ceremony that drew Mayor Michael Vargas, Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, City Councilman David Starr Rabb, City Manager Richard Belmudez, Assistant City Manager Darren Madkin, Director of Community Services Sabrina Chavez, City Engineer Habib Motlagh and Chief Information Officer Arturo Cervantes.
City Social Media Specialist Karina Espinoza and Audio-Visual Specialist Everett Hambly live-streamed the event over the Internet.
Vargas hailed the opening as the latest achievement in the City’s ongoing efforts to encourage healthy living. Just one day earlier, Perris officials opened the Motlagh Fitness Court at Paragon Park, which features a variety of self-paced workout stations. A generous donation by City Engineer Motlagh brought the fitness court to reality.
In addition, the City continues its series of hikes Nov. 17 with a challenging walk at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area, offers regular fitness and workout classes for residents and seniors, continues its yoga classes in the Community Garden as well as the educational “Chef-in-the-Classroom” program to teach youngsters the value of healthy-eating choices.
“I am really proud of our City’s commitment to encourage people of all ages to live better through exercise and good eating choices,” Vargas said. “Today’s ceremony provides yet another opportunity for Perris residents to exercise. I’m very proud to continue offering these sorts of amenities.”
`A great day’
The trail runs north to Harley Knox Boulevard and south to Orange Avenue. An additional portion extending from Orange to Nuevo Road is expected to be completed by mid-2019. Plans to expand the trail to the Metrolink station in South Perris and then to the City boundary at Ethanac Road should be completed in about two years. Total cost is projected at about $6.5 million.
Corona and Rabb took part in the hike with a couple dozen other residents. Both liked the experience.
“This is a great day,” Corona said. “It’s a perfect way for people to exercise while traveling through Perris safely. A great way to walk your dog or ride your bike. The City’s big theme is fitness and this trail is a great addition to the places in Perris when people can get healthy.”
Corona, who coaches the Perris High School cross-country team, said he expects those runners to make frequent use of the trail.
Rabb said he slimmed down and changed his whole appearance through healthier eating and exercise. It was especially gratifying because the trail was in discussion and under construction for the last several years.
Rabb completed the walk in dress shoes in about 15 minutes.
“A good cardio workout,” he said. “This was a great event. Nice to see people come out and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Perris resident Maria Magana enjoyed the day’s activities as well. She called the trail “really nice” and a great addition to Perris.
“Our City is awesome!” Magana said. “It’s getting better and bigger.”
Resident Jose Espitia broke several bones in his back while tree-trimming. His doctor recommended walking to aid in his recovery.
“This is good for residents,” he said. “I appreciate that the City of Perris tries to promote healthier lifestyles.”
Eric Lewis, the City of Moreno Valley Traffic Engineer, works with Perris officials to develop regional hike and bike trails. An avid bicyclist, Lewis rides hundreds of miles each month. He took off on the first bicycle ride from Morgan Park with about 20 other cyclists.
Lewis hailed the Perris Valley Trail as life-changing.
“This is a monumental event for the City of Perris,” he said. “The younger generation needs to get off its devices and get active. I applaud Perris for its initiative to live well and get more people fit and happy. It’s important for longevity and quality of life.”