REED CITY - Reed City Area District Library has proposed the establishment of a story walk at one of the city's local parks.

Library Board President Lyndsey Eccles-Burchette told the planning commission, at its meeting on June 1, they would like to create a story walk as part of their summer reading program.

"Because of COVID-19, we will have to focus more on virtual and outdoor activities," Eccles-Burchette said. "These story walks have become popular all around the world, and we would like approval to build one in one of our parks."

For a story walk, a story book is disassembled, and the pages are laminated and placed in kiosks along a walking path, for readers to walk along and follow the story, Eccles-Burchette explained.

"Our plan would be to put the pages in plexiglass where they could be moved and switched out, so the stories could be changeable," she said. "Story Walk is trademarked, and they have a list of books approved for use, so we would work with them.

"This would be an extension of our summer reading program," Eccles-Burchette added. "It would include prompts throughout the story to engage critical thinking and some physical activity for the reader."

Eccles-Burchette said the purpose of the program would be to keep children reading over the summer, and to encourage people to use the city parks, as well.

"We can have them take a selfie when they finish the book, and we can offer some sort of prize for each one they complete," she said.

Eccles-Burchette said the library would procure the funding necessary, but first they need to know if they city will allow them to do it.

Planning commission members agreed that the story walk was a good idea.

"I think it is a really good idea," said commission member Nate Bailey. "Many that come into the area don't know where the trails go, and having the story walk there might help show people where the actual path is. I would recommend doing it along Linear Park on the opposite side of the trail from the river."

Planning commission chairperson Dawn Montague agreed Linear Park was a good choice, saying, "You could start at one end and go to the other."

Monatague added that it might be necessary for them to get together with the department of public works and the parks supervisor to get a more precise idea of where the kiosks could go.

"I think that would be a good resource for you to go to as far as figuring out where you want to place the kiosks, and then come back to us with a more precise plan," she said.

City manager Ron Howell said since it would involve public parks, city council would have the final say on it.

"If you have the support of the planning commission, and you have a plan that the council can look at, it might move the project along faster," Howell said. "Even if the library is going to fund it, you will still need council's approval on where to put it."

Eccles-Burchette said she would get a plan together to present at the next city council meeting.

Reed City city council will meet at 7 p.m., June 15. For information on how to access the virtual meeting, go to reedcity.org.