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At-large city council members Sarah Grace (left), Patrick McGee (middle) and Peter Kotses (right) during the Jan. 16 Athens City Council meeting. (FILE)

City Council: Members hear presentation from COMCorps, Convention and Visitors Bureau

The community wellness liaison of COMCorps presented Monday to Athens City Council’s City and Safety Services Committee about how COMCorps is benefiting the community during council’s committee meetings.

COMCorps is a program under AmeriCorps that emphasizes evidence-based nutrition education, physical activity and supports preventative and primary health care services.

Caroline Canning of COMCorps has worked with members of the Athens community to help them reach their personal goals. Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine receives federal funding to have an AmeriCorps group, which takes place in the form of COMCorps. One of COMCorps’ goals is to provide information on physical activity.

COMCorps has group fitness classes in Athens’ Community Center and pushes other community events in order to make physical exercise a connection-oriented experience. There are also exercise rooms in the community center that are divided by muscle group so people can exercise in smaller, more private areas.

“It’s one way to make people feel a little more comfortable about where they’re starting and how they’re working towards their goals,” Canning said.

Over the course of the year, Canning put on 10 different events to promote physical and mental health. The most popular event of the year was a health screening, Canning said. The last event, taking place this summer, will be a pool party featuring water games and free popsicles.

Council members praised Canning for her efforts at COMCorps. COMCorps has helped create community relationships and has improved its marketing in order to raise awareness about its services.

“I was personally touched by seeing how much the personal interactions matter to you,” Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said. “Thank you for your commitment and for making those personal connections.”

The City and Safety Services Committee also heard from Paige Alost, director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bureau aims to promote tourism in Athens County as a way of creating revenue. In 2017, tourism brought in $166 million, Alost said. 

Alost talked about the usage of digital advertising to increase tourism. Youtube videos were made as part of campaigns for events occurring this summer in Athens. The bureau also uses digital and print advertising to promote events, in addition to mailing out maps of Athens.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a lot of great, unexpected success,” Alost said.


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