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City sidewalks are big topic at Healthy Communities annual lunch
By TRAVIS WEIK - firstname.lastname@example.org | 0 comments
Fried food wasn’t on the menu for the Healthy Communities of Henry County annual meeting and lunch, of course. The table was set with a big bowl of roasted broccoli, cauliflower and carrots next to handmade mashed potatoes, rolls, fresh salad and baked pork loin.
Community volunteers gathered at the Hope Building for lunch Thursday to review the group’s accomplishments and go over the results of last year’s Active Living Workshop.
Healthy Communities volunteers and donors helped plant 1,000 trees across Henry County in 2016, raised $1,230 for Henry County trail maintenance, and another $57,800 for phase two construction of the Wilbur Wright Trail.
The community group planned and designed a 1.1 mile extension of the Wilbur Wright Trail and helped expand the National Road Heritage Trail in Raysville last year.
Healthy Communities also hosted the 16th annual Raintree Ride, served as a Blight Elimination Program partner, helped implement the New Castle Bike & Pedestrian Master Plan, partnered with the Robert Indiana Arts & Culture Campus project, and worked with a pre-kindergarten childhood obesity grant in 2016.
Kate Riordan, the Active Living program manager from Health by Design, was the guest speaker. Health by Design is an Indianapolis company that looks at “built environment solutions to improve public health,” Riordan said.
Large parking lots, wide streets and narrow or non-existent sidewalks are great for moving cars in and out of cities, but are terrible for helping people stay healthy.
“We’ve basically engineered physical activity out of our daily life,” Riordan said.
Riordan said that communities that promote healthier living have healthier residents and healthier economies.
“Physical activity has been called a wonder drug,” Riordan said. “It’s not a drug you would take, it’s just being more physically active.”
Riordan said New Castle and other Henry County towns can promote active living by “greening up” the community with street trees and master parks plans.
Healthy Communities provides young trees each spring out of the Henry County Solid Waste Management District office at 1121 Broad St., New Castle, free of charge.
Riordan also suggested that the New Castle community develop a comprehensive sidewalk inventory, ordinances, and subsidies for sidewalks. Broken sidewalks were a major negative that people noted during the 2016 walk audit that Health by Design conducted during last year’s Healthy Communities annual meeting.
City employee Ed Hill said New Castle is currently doing a road assessment, but he isn’t sure if that includes an inventory of what roads have sidewalks or the condition of those sidewalks.
Hill said the city is also working on a “Complete Streets” assessment to qualify for a 50/50 state grant.
If a city has a “complete streets” policy, that means all future road improvements will also take sidewalks or biking trails into consideration, Riordan said. Improvements that the Indiana Department of Transportation makes to Broad Street or Memorial Drive will have to include sidewalks and trails if New Castle had such a policy in place.
Healthy Communities supporter Cathy Hamilton pointed out that there are no sidewalks along N. 16th Street leading to the hospital. There also aren’t any sidewalks along Washington Street, even though that is the location of three group homes, Hamilton said.
Hamilton commented that it doesn’t seem feasible to expect elderly or disabled property owners on fixed incomes to come up with $1,500 to install sidewalks or repair what’s in front of their home before the city will help out with the costs.
“We need to come up with a better plan,” Hamilton said.
Riordan talked about the sidewalk program that the City of Bluffton has in place; it provides low-interest loans to property owners so they can build new sidewalks and curbs.
According to the City of Bluffton website, under the Sidewalk Assistance Program, general improvement funds are used for new construction or reconstruction of existing sidewalks, with approval from the Bluffton Board of Public Works and Safety.
The way Bluffton’s program works, their clerk-treasurer bills and collects the loans through assessments on the property owner’s tax bill. Each sidewalk assistance assessment can be paid in full within one year of the project certification without penalty or interest, or the assessments may be paid in up to ten semiannual installments with a 1 percent annual interest rate.
Hamilton suggested that supporters attend city council and board of works meetings whenever sidewalk policies come up on the budget.
Local residents can support Healthy Communities of Henry County by making donations, sponsoring an event, and volunteering and participating in activities.
The Health Communities board of directors meets from noon to 1 p.m. the second Thursday of the month at the downtown community room, 100 S. Main St., New Castle. The meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged and welcomed.
Please consider a donation to help us carry on our many projects that make Henry County a more exciting and beautiful place to live. Your generous gifts enables us to continue building trails, planting trees and enhancing parks throughout the county. Healthy Communities of Henry County is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that relies on community support and partnership to carry out its mission. All donations are tax deductible.
Calendar of Events
Healthy Communities of Henry County Monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 12:00p.m. in the Community Center conference room at 100S Main St., New Castle. Come and join us.
HCHC Annual Meeting Thursday Feb. 23rd, 11:30am
2016 Earth Day Festival Sat. April 23
Free Tree Giveaway-April 2016
16th Annual Raintree Ride, Saturday October 1
International Walk to School Day Oct. 9,
Our Board of Directors
Nancy Smith Cook , President
JoAnne McCorkle, Vice President
Dennis Hamilton, Secretary
Jerry Cash, Treasurer
Jan Lockridge, Website and Social Media
'Thank You!' to our generous sponsors:
Ball Brothers Foundation
Bloomington Bicycle Club for NRHT
Central Indiana Hydro-seed
City of New Castle
Harold and Nancy Cook
Friends of Rick Purvis
Friends of Betsy Smith
Cathy & Dennis Hamilton
Healthy Communities Annual Mtg. Attenders
Henry Community Health
Henry County Community Foundation
Henry County Health Department Henry County Henry County Hospital Foundation
Henry County Solid Waste Management-
Henry County YMCA
Indiana Heritage Trust
Inter-local Community Action Program
Randy & Marcia Jones
Duane & Beverly Mathews
JoAnne & Ric McCorkle
NCHC Economic Development Corp.
Norfolk & Southern Railroad
Pfenninger, Claxton & Estelle Insurance
John & Jane Pidgeon
John Pratt Family
Raintree Cycling Club
Raintree Ride participants
Jeff & Judy Ray
Jim & Joyce Ray
Saint Anne's Church
Shoreline Asset Investments LLC
South Henry Regional Waste District
Tri-State Forestry Services
Dr. Helen Steussy
E. Walters Trust
Chris Williams & Family
Healthy Communities and Economic Development
Mr. Bob Grewe, President and CEO of the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. recently spoke at the Healthy Communities annual board meeting, touting the work of Healthy Communities - particularly the recreational trails system development - as a great asset to Henry County. To view more of Mr. Grewe's presentation, please click here. To find out more about economic development in Henry County, please visit the NCHC EDC homepage!
Healthy Communities of Henry County
100 S. Main St., Suite 102
PO Box 921
New Castle, IN 47362
Email - email@example.com
100 S. Main St., Suite 102
PO Box 921
New Castle, IN 47362
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org