BUCKEYE LAKE – Mayor Clay Carroll anticipates speaking with the Licking County Health Department about its plans for a newly acquired Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) grant, which could provide Buckeye Lake Village with a new park or community recreational equipment.
Tuesday, Carroll said he had yet to be contacted by the health department, but he’s aware of several possibilities for projects to benefit Buckeye Lake Village.
“In the past month or so we have met with many people on the local, county and state level as well as some private business entities regarding opportunities to help improve the village,” he said, including possible benefit from a separate Neighborhood Revitalization Grant.
“While nothing is set in place or nailed down, and I don’t want to jinx ourselves, but we have some really wonderful people looking at ways to help create change for our village and that I find very exciting,” Carroll said. “Hopefully, as we get through winter and into better weather we may have something’s to discuss with more certainty.”
“We haven’t contacted the Buckeye Lake people yet,” said Nicole Smith, Licking County Health Department health educator. She and other Licking County Health Department officials are in the early stages of deciding how best to use nearly $500,000 over the next five years to support healthy eating, active living, and kicking smoking habits once and for all county-wide, beginning with three local initiatives. “This is a work in progress,” Smith said.
The Licking County Health Department was awarded the 2015-2019 Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) grant from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The award, which totals $95,000 each year, will be used in the community to support and promote healthy eating, active living and tobacco-free environments.
Smith said one of the objectives in the first year of the grant includes a focus on providing an outdoor recreational area in the Buckeye Lake community. She said the county health department would work with Buckeye Lake Village community leaders to assess what their community’s needs are for potential new playground and fitness equipment financed through the grant.
Other objectives include assisting in the development of the farmer’s market in Newark, and continuing the department’s focus on tobacco-free schools by working with schools to enforce tobacco-free campus policies.
Smith said the health department will work with two school districts-to be determined-to create environments whereby tobacco products are prohibited from use on all school building properties, including banning tobacco use anywhere on campus for teachers and employees, similar to the programs the Lakewood, Granville, and Licking Valley districts have implemented.
The Health Department will be coordinating with the Licking County Wellness Coalition and the Tobacco Use Reduction Network to carry out these efforts.
Smith said the health department would also work with community organizations, such as the T.J. Evans Foundation to help enhance the Newark farmers’ market, which is proposed to open 2016. Such enhancements may include allowing the farmers’ market to accept food stamps and other government assistance to purchase produce and the like. “We want to work with them to meet the needs of the consumers,” she said.
Smith said the health department would create several more goals for the CHC grant over the next few years.
The CHC grant is committed to preventing and reducing chronic disease statewide. Through cross-sector collaboration, the CHC program is activating communities to improve access to and affordability of healthy food, increase opportunities for physical activity, and assure tobaccofree living where Ohioans live, work and play. By implementing sustainable evidence-based strategies CHC is creating a culture of health.
“Nearly 7 in 10 Ohio adults have a chronic disease or condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity, among others,” said Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner. “These conditions all can be linked to lifestyle habits, and it is important that we as a community provide education, infrastructure and policies that support healthy lifestyles.”