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Hernando Mayor Tom Ferguson, along with Ward 3 Alderman Gary Higdon and Fire Chief Hubert Jones, lead the public and fellow city officials on a "Community Walk" from City Hall around the historic Town Square in celebration of the city's designation as the state's healthiest city.

Robert Long|DTT

Hernando, the DeSoto County seat, has reclaimed the mantle as Mississippi's "Healthiest Hometown," a designation that recognizes the city's efforts to promote fitness and healthy living.

In a ceremony at City Hall this past Friday, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Mississippi Executive Director Sheila Grogan presented city officials with the "Healthy Hometown Award" for 2017 and a $25,000 award.

Hernando Mayor Tom Ferguson said the award money will be put to good use.

"The money will be used to upgrade Renasant Park with a new walking trail," Ferguson said. "With a top-notch skate park and a brand new dog park, the trail will be another avenue for people of all ages to exercise."

On Friday, Ferguson led city officials and the public on a "Community Walk" from City Hall around the Town Square.

Hernando was the first city in the State of Mississippi to receive the "Healthy Hometown" recognition back in 2010.

Gia Matheny, Community Development Director for the City of Hernando, said there is a commitment to health and fitness that begins from the top down at city hall.

Within the past year, a fitness center was established for employees at the nearby Gale Center, which is used by police officers and city employees alike to stay physically fit.

In the past several years, the city worked to establish a community garden, promoted Mississippi's No.1 rated farmers market — the fifth best farmers market in the nation — held community-wide health fairs, offered health screenings and flu shots for the up-coming cold and flu season.

"We are grateful to be a recipient of the grant which allows us to focus on the public and our employees in the city," Matheny said.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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