POMEROY — The Meigs County Health Department has announced the county-wide projects its two annual grants will help fund in 2016.
Laura Cleland, grant coordinator at the department, said the Creating Healthy Communities grant through the Ohio Department of Health would be working on the following projects:
- As part of the grant’s physical activity initiatives, the health department will be working with individual villages throughout Meigs County on what is called the Pedestrian Plan. This entails the improvement of sidewalks and access to walkable paths from residential areas/multi-unit housing structures. Cleland said this can include the walkability of paths from one’s home to their workplace. “We’re trying to address interruptions in sidewalks or inadequate sidewalks while also taking into consideration where there are no sidewalks, where there should be, and looking into outside funding that villages can apply for to repair the sidewalks.”
- The department is working with Pomeroy to expand the basketball court that the Creating Healthy Communities Grant improved upon last year. This year, the court will be expanded and another court will be added. This project will be done as weather permits, Cleland said. There will also be new posts, backboards and rims replaced on the old court and added to the new court.
- As part of their nutrition initiative, this grant will continue the farmers market that began last year. The dates for this year’s market will be May 15-Aug. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — pushed back an hour earlier from last year’s times for the convenience of those attending the market, Cleland said.
- The health department is working with Meigs High School to designate a space in the building as a breastfeeding-friendly space for mothers who need to breastfeed. This is also being done through Women, Infants and Children. The department is also looking into a refrigeration system for milk.
- A water fountain will be installed at Dave Diles Park in Middleport. “The whole goal there is to promote access to safe drinking water so if kids are down there playing, or if someone is walking, they have access to cool, fresh water.” Cleland said this location was suggested to her and she’s been working with village administration to help accomplish this feasible project.
- In terms of tobacco awareness, this grant will help improve spaces that are being promoted as tobacco-free.
Together on Diabetes, through Marshall University, is another grant the Meigs County Health Department receives, will assist with the following county-wide projects:
- The health department is working with Southern Middle School to implement a school garden to teach kids what healthy fruits and vegetables can be grown and eaten in Meigs County.
- Once again, the department will be hosting the Eastern Elementary School Food Fair.
- Cleland and the department are working on a food pantry project, and hope to have at least two locations for this project, which will consist of these food pantries offering healthy items for patrons. “Our goal is to promote healthy eating in every walk of life and to be able to offer those patrons a choice … I think that it will be a good project,” Cleland said.
- The walking trail that surrounds Eastern Local Schools will continue to be paved. Specifically, the part of the gravel trail that starts by the playground, behind the elementary school and past the shelter house, following the baseball/softball fields, will be paved. Completion of this part of the project is dependent upon weather.
- There will be an expansion of the playground close to the Tuppers Plains Fire Department.
- The health department is working with the Chester Ball Association to establish new ball fields on donated land. The current ball fields, completed in the mid-to late 1990s, are the Angela Eason Memorial Ball Fields. There will be new fencing along the backstop and outfield. Cleland said hopefully this can be installed by the summer so kids can use the fields this year.
- For healthy eats, the department is working on a healthy concession stand pilot (or test run), specifically targeting concession stands set up during fall sports. So far Cleland said she’s going to work with the schools, and has already talked to some booster members. “We’re going to see what the response is,” Cleland said.
“The whole idea is to improve the health of residents through behavior change, and through behaviors we target healthy eating, active living an tobacco use,” she said. “So we’re working to implement projects that are sustainable and will last over time, and many people will benefit.”
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.