Mini-Grants Available for Pedestrian Improvements

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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.
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.

Contributed by
Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services

Program Seeks to Create Active Communities

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 activecounty@co.chautauqua.ny.us, or may be
downloaded at: http://www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/852/Our-Community-Walks.
For further information, call 753-4795.