Photo caption: Area walking group participants get out to walk in any weather. The Our Community Walks mini-grants are being offered to help municipalities improve walkability, while encouraging residents to get out and walk more.
MAYVILLE, N.Y.: - When it comes to walking safely about a community, small changes like connecting a sidewalk or improving a street crossing can have a big impact. Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is offering a mini-grant program to help communities make those changes. The “Our Community Walks!” program pairs funding for small-scale improvements with encouraging residents to get out and explore their community by foot.
“Creating or improving places to be active is a proven strategy for increasing levels of physical activity in a population,” said Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler. “Another is developing social support around being active. We are pleased to offer the Our Community Walks program; supporting these two evidence-based strategies with both funding and technical assistance.”
Up to eight grants of up to $1,500 will be awarded across Chautauqua County. Grant recipients will be required to use the funds toward improving safety, access, or conditions for pedestrians, as well as to host at least three informal community walks. Applicants may be schools, individuals, or community groups in partnership with their municipality, or the municipality itself with participation from the community.
“We encourage residents to look at their streets, sidewalks, and parks from a pedestrian point of view, and determine where small-scale improvements can be made,” said Healthy Communities Consultant Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller. “It might be a couple of key sidewalk sections, a speed bump in a residential area that lacks sidewalks, or creating a more visible crosswalk.”
“The community walks are an important part of this program,” said Schmidtfrerick-Miller. “A community could plan and promote a weekly or monthly walk in the park or walk with the Mayor, or get as creative as they wish. As noted on the application, these are intended to be free, non-competitive, and fun, with no direct cost to the community. Our staff will be available to provide planning assistance with both the walks and the pedestrian improvements.”
Applications will be accepted up to noon on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or may be downloaded at: https://www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/872/Our-Community-Walks. For further information, call 753-4795.