RED WING — Though Live Healthy Red Wing as an organization will shut down at the end of the year, the legacy of its collaborative efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity will remain for years to come.

“We are truly grateful to have worked on so many amazing projects, and to have built strong relationships with community members and organizations,” LHRW Coordinator Erin Augustin said in a news release Monday, Sept. 21, announcing plans to close the organization.

The board of directors’ decision was in response to scarce funding and limited time to dedicate to projects outside of work schedules, Augustin said. Both issues were exacerbated by COVID-19.

Its most recent project, Activating Nature, will be its last, the organization said. The project was going to include the opening of a pop-up nature play park this summer, but the plan was pushed back due to the pandemic. LHRW vowed to complete the project in spring 2021 using funds already allocated by the University of Minnesota, United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties and the Red Wing Shoe Foundation.

The organization was founded in 2008. Since that time it has worked with local groups on projects such as

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  • Safe Routes to School plans for students to walk and bike to Sunnyside and Twin Bluff elementary schools;

  • pedestrian safety improvements through the city’s Complete Streets policy;

  • access and safety improvements at Bluffview Park;

  • and publication of neighborhood walking maps.

“We know that the bonds we have made will not end simply because LHRW has ended, and that when a need arises, each person on our collaboration will step up to meet those needs in any way they can,” Augustin said.

The current

Live Healthy Red Wing was multifaceted community endeavor. For example, LHRW sponsored racial equality training sessions Feb. 21, 2017. Julie Nelson and Gordon Goodwin of the Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equality presented a session on gaining awareness of the history of race, normalizing conversations about race, identifying instances of implicit and explicit bias and racism and being motivated to take action. Live Healthy Red Wing, which was started with grant funds, will disband at the end of 2020. RiverTown Multimedia file photo
Live Healthy Red Wing was multifaceted community endeavor. For example, LHRW sponsored racial equality training sessions Feb. 21, 2017. Julie Nelson and Gordon Goodwin of the Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equality presented a session on gaining awareness of the history of race, normalizing conversations about race, identifying instances of implicit and explicit bias and racism and being motivated to take action. Live Healthy Red Wing, which was started with grant funds, will disband at the end of 2020. RiverTown Multimedia file photo
LHRW team is Dawn Wettern, Pam Horlitz, Jessica Seide, Jay Owens, Anna Ostendorf, Paul Hildebrandt, Jason Jech, Mike Pagel, Josh Thygesen and Heather Flock.

Seide, a health educator with Goodhue County Public Health, said it was an honor to be part of LHRW.

“The passion, effort and hard work that I have seen from this collaboration has been awe inspiring,” she said. “The way the Red Wing community has come together to accomplish so much is something I will not soon forget.”

LHRW has partnered with more than two dozen local groups with a mission of improving policies, enhancing the environment and building an inclusive culture, according to the organization’s website

For former coordinator Michelle Leise, the past 11 years showed the power of community members to positively impact their city.

“A group of passionate people from a wide variety of organizations worked together for a common purpose — and then reached out to more people throughout the whole community,” Leise said.

The organization will disband Dec. 31.