Each year, the HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Cities Campaign offers small grants, generously sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, to cities for the implementation of HEAL policies in their communities. 2016 will mark the third year of the small grants process to cities who are members of the Campaign. The 2015 grants were awarded to the cities of Donald, Independence, Lebanon, Dallas and Coos Bay.

In the city of Donald, the idea for their small grant project was sparked by a community survey. City Manager Heidi Bell said that residents voiced a desire for more park space, so the city used its small grant to highlight access to existing walking paths, one covering one-half of a mile and the other 1.5 miles. The city installed three signs around town, with each sign providing a map showing the two walking paths, along with snippets of Donald’s rich history.

“The idea is that a Donald resident can walk outside their house and already be on the walking path,” Bell said. “It’s to encourage them to not only get out and exercise, but also to learn a little about the town’s history too.”

*Photos and quotes from Donald provided by Lindsay Keefer, Woodburn Independent.

The City of Coos Bay used their funds for the design of a path along the Coos Waterfront Park and Waterway. They worked with volunteers to design a new logo and install signage to help pedestrians better navigate the collection of boardwalks, sidewalks, roadways, and asphalt trails along the city’s waterfront.

In Dallas, park accessibility has been improved through the creation of a footbridge and other park amenities, which has led to increased use of the entire park, especially by older residents. The city has reported an increase in groups using the path on a regular basis.

Finally, Lebanon is planning a new community garden, to be completed next year, and Independence is installing fitness stations along the Willamette River Fitness Trail, with signage both in English and Spanish.

With Kaiser Permanente’s continued support of the HEAL Cities Campaign, the Small Grants competition will continue with the call for 2016 applications to be released this fall – stay tuned!

TualatinGreenway

The City of Tualatin used its 2014 HEAL small grant to install two benches along the newly improved Tualatin River Greenway, a prize-winning bicycle and walking path that connects people with nature while enabling easy exercise, recreation, wildlife viewing, and a long-awaited safe way to commute across I-5. On April 9th, OPHI Executive Director Liz Baxter attended the grand opening of the Greenway, and got to help cut the ribbon with Mayor Lou Ogden! Our team is planning a field trip to take a walk on the trail! Hope you’ll do the same soon.