Photo Courtesy of Donna Sharp, Division of Public Health
Newark is walking, biking and eating its way to a fitter, healthier existence. The city was awarded the gold designation in the 2014 Delaware Recognition for Community Health Promotion for nurturing health in the community by developing new policies and infrastructure to improve the quality of life for people who live, work and play in Newark. In 2013, the city achieved a bronze level designation.
There’s a reward for making healthy changes. The city received a $10,000 healthy communities grant from the state. It’s wonderful to see Newark recognized for our high quality of life, and for our leadership as a healthy, walkable and bikeable community, says Newark Mayor Polly Sierer.
Newark also got the good news out with Healthy Newark reusable grocery totes that are disbursed through the Newark Natural Foods Co-op, as well as welcome packets for new homebuyers. Branded bike racks are being installed on all city buses. To keep the momentum going, the city invested in four bicycles, two based at City Hall, one at the Public Works Department and one at the parking office.
“We use them to get around town as an alternative to driving a car,” says Michael Fortner, development supervisor. Each bike is outfitted with signage promoting the Healthy Newark brand, as well as a helmet, bike lock and side basket, ideal for carrying a briefcase.
The city’s comprehensive development plan supports healthy, active living in -Newark by providing the infrastructure to foster fitness. That includes such initiatives as participating in National Ride Your Bike to Work Day, promoting bicycle parking areas, summer camps and trail cleanup days.
In the Healthy Newark Initiative 21-day Challenge, residents were encouraged to exercise, eat healthier and make healthy lifestyle choices. The city also constructed two skateboard parks. The award recognizes municipal efforts to enhance access to services, encourage positive lifestyle changes and improve community health.
The initiative is sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living.