Meet the 2018 Community Change Grantees
America Walks is excited to announce the awarded grants of the 2018 Community Change grant program. This grant program supports local efforts to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active for all community members. Since it’s beginning in 2015, this grant program has provided funds for a variety of projects demonstrating the creativity and passion of walking champions across the US.
These grantees were selected from over 600 applications for projects that demonstrate the passion, creativity, and commitment of local walking champions. With support from partners, including the Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation, Lyft, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), and WalkBoston, 20 projects will be supported in 2019. Awardees will work with America Walks and other members of the Every Body Walk! Collaborative to successfully complete their projects and share their lessons with other community change agents. While the projects and programs work to improve walkability, the results of each grant will have a positive change on many areas of that community.
Meet the Grantees
Downtown Huntsville, Inc. (Huntsville, AL)
Way-finding signage and community engagement will help residents to utilize bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between downtown amenities and surrounding districts. Signage will connect our beautiful Gateway Greenway, which traverses multiple parks, entertainment venues, and large outdoor museums in downtown Huntsville, to existing bicycle lanes north of downtown.
Soroptimist International of Red Bluff (Red Bluff, CA)
The Big Splash is a proposed water park that is part of a larger effort to revitalize an existing city park in the rural northern California city of Red Bluff. Located in the center of town along a Type I bikeway trail that overlooks the Sacramento River, this water park and the surrounding trails will be inclusive for children and families with disabilities, will be well lit for safety, and a central hub for free or low cost recreational opportunities that promote an active and healthy lifestyle. This effort is a community partnership between the City of Red Bluff, Soroptimist International of Red Bluff, and local residents and stakeholders to improve community vitality and take back the safe use of the park for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Good Samaritan Health Center (Atlanta, GA)
The Good Samaritan Health Center (Good Sam) provides a safe, moderate walking course as well as access to water and restrooms. This community walking project allows Good Sam to expand the walking club program and commit to encouraging a healthier, more active lifestyle in the community by offering patients and community members access to our walking club. The increase of patients and community members walking on a regular basis will help reduce new cases of Type II diabetes, prevent hypertension and resulting heart attacks and strokes, and reduce the prevalence of obesity in the underserved populations served. While these are all long-term goals of the project, short-term accomplishments include weight loss among participants, reductions in blood pressure and A1c levels, and improvements in mental health and mentality that go hand-in-hand with being active and getting support from a group striving to reach similar goals. Creating spaces where people can accomplish their goals alongside each other is incredibly important in meeting those goals and building community and creating these places at Good Sam is a key part of our mission to be a community resource and patient centered medical home.
New Augusta Public Academy South (Indianapolis, IN)
This grant will help enable NAS to continue its partnership with PlayWorks/TeamUp to bring a quality recess program to our school. This program teaches our scholars self-regulation, problem solving skills, and how to have engaging physical activity. PlayWorks/TeamUp also works with staff and students to create a positive and collaborative school community.
Flint Hills Wellness Coalition (Manhattan, KS)
The Flint Hills Wellness Coalition (FHWC), in partnership with the Flint Hills MPO & the City of Manhattan, are working towards utilizing Tactical Urbanism projects to quickly, inexpensively, and temporarily test new designs for streets and intersections around Manhattan. This grant allows the FHWC to purchase supplies for a Tactical Urbanism toolkit to implement projects planned for in the Mobility Manual. For example, painted curb extensions to visually narrow the roadway and slow vehicles, while also shortening crossing distances for pedestrians. Toolkit supplies will be re-usable and will include: traffic cones, paint for striping and crosswalks, tape, etc. The FHWC looks forward to working with its partners and the community to make Manhattan a safer and more enjoyable place to walk. Each Tactical Urbanism project will be an event where the community can experience the project and changes first hand while providing valuable feedback.
City of Revere, Revere on the Move (Revere, MA)
The city of Revere is well known for its place in history as the 1st Public Beach in America. At turn of the 20th century, the therapeutic qualities associated with salt air, walks on sandy beaches and majestic views of the Atlantic Ocean brought people to camp on the Beachmont hillside. As Beachmont developed into a robust, blue collar neighborhood a series of public stairs were built to help residents traverse the neighborhood. Today, these stairs, just as vital to the neighborhood as when they were built, are in various states of disrepair and are unsafe and uninviting to use.
Jackson State University School of Public Health (Jackson, MS)
The Jackson State University School of Public Health, (em) Power Walking Program aims to improve the walking capability of the Jackson Medical Mall (JMM). The JMM offers comprehensive services that include healthcare, social services, dining, community activities and shopping. The JMM serves as a safe haven for physical activity with patrons walking the perimeter of the mall for exercise daily. Approximately 5,000 vehicles visit the mall daily, with more than half visiting for medical care. The trail is utilized by less than 1% of patrons per day. The (em) Power Walking Program will aim to increase the use of the walking trail to improve the overall health of community members. The program will include such activities as: installing mile markers along the mall perimeter; installing signage to encourage the use of stairs; conducting 15-minute powerful sessions to empower the community; and disseminating educational information to encourage walking. These activities will support healthier lifestyles for JMM patrons, while also supporting a greater sense of community among patrons. The JSU School of Public Health is housed in the JMM as not only an educational institution, but also a community servant and resource. This program will use that platform to impact the community.
Read more about their work here.
Shinnecock Indian Nation (Southampton, NY)
We are thrilled to be a 2018 Community Change Grant recipient! We’re excited to begin implementing the project we’ve named the Church Street Crosswalk Project! Nestled in the middle of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation is an array of buildings on either side of Church Street that provide essential services to the community. However, Church Street has a blind curve that directly transverses the hub, making it precarious to cross. Our goal is to create a safe zone with fun crosswalks that encourage walking from building to building and allow the children to safely access the playground and basketball court. The implementation process will include installing signage and speed bumps to significantly reduce traffic speed, pushing back overgrown vegetation to create a grass sidewalk and painting crosswalks with culturally relevant designs. We’re confident the safety and aesthetic improvements will be a source of pride and motivate community members to walk more and drive less within the service sector of the territory.
City of Velva (Velva, ND)
The City of Velva has worked on pedestrian and street safety for several decades, and through the Velva Park Board, has also supported new sidewalks around the pool and miniature golf area and pedestrian crossings from the park to the city pool.
The city and Velva Public School are working together to improve student crossing. They have just initiated a volunteer crossing guard program. The school system also worked with the city to install new sidewalks and fencing to support moving the school bus loading/unloading to the southern portion of the school. To continue the walkability in town, the America Walks grant will be used to paint and repainting the crosswalks on Main Street and near the school. It will clearly mark the areas that vehicles need to be aware of and stop if there are pedestrians, according to state law. The grant will also provide funding for improved signage to provide drivers ample opportunity to look for pedestrians crossing. Two road pedestrian signs are also needed when volunteers are unable to serve as crossing guards and more visibility signs and equipment will support the crossing guard duties.
Neighborhood Network, a program of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County (Akron, OH)
Neighborhood Walk Audits – Neighborhood Network, a program of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County will facilitate the recruitment, training, and support of 10 resident lead walking audits that will gather information about sidewalks, streets, and overall walking experience in the Middlebury Neighborhood of Akron, Ohio. Neighborhood Walk Audits provide a safe, fun, and impactful way to better the community while providing inclusive health events to residents.
Cesar Chavez School (Portland, OR)
Cesar Chavez School in partnership with Community Cycling Center is excited to receive the America Walks Community Change Grant. These funds will go towards improving walkability, traffic calming and placemaking around our school. In our effort to improve our Safe Routes to School program we hosted a Walk Audit with students, parents, staff and community stakeholders this past fall. From that meeting we identified dangerous school crossings and learned that many parents who walk find that they are worried about safety from parents who drive their children to school. The grant funds will go straight to creating safety improvements along preferred walking routes and around the school parking lot.
Our goal is to have the community drive the ideas of how we use these funds. By reclaiming parts of the school parking lot, we will be able to improve safety for students and families, who bike or walk. With bright colors for crosswalks and creative placemaking solutions we hope to bring the community together and to promote walking or biking to school as a safe and healthy option.
Foster Powell Neighborhood Association (Portland, OR)
The Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association, located in Portland, OR, will bring friends, neighbors and community partners together to create a walking path on a plot of undeveloped land, known as the “Firland Parkway”. Improvement efforts along this 3 block stretch of land will serve to invite more walkers, runners and other pedestrians to walk and gather along a central stretch connecting much of the neighborhood. The intention is to elevate this space as a destination greenspace within the community, increasing overall activity levels within Foster-Powell over the long term.
Verde (Portland, OR)
The Community Change Grant will support Verde’s Community Walking Group. Verde led the development of Cully Park, a 25-acre park built on a former landfill that opened in 2018. While Cully Park was still under construction community members identified the need for a community led walking group that would help decrease some of the barriers to accessing the new park (located on a dead end street across a busy intersection). The walking group also provides an opportunity to promote walkability and healthy exercise, as well as act as a community foot patrol that keeps the community clean and safe. The walking group is now in its 3rd year and continues to grow. The three community walking group leaders are awarded a gift card every month for doing outreach to neighbors about their twice-monthly walks, planning the route, and attending trainings through the office of neighborhood involvement about community safety. The walking group leaders and participants are all low-income and Latinx. Through this project we will train three new community leaders and host a larger training for community members to talk about the benefits of walking to health, and community safety.
GreenAllies (Pottstown, PA)
The Community Change Grant will change the lives of children from an isolated income-restricted development by providing walking access to outdoor summer enrichment camps. With no sidewalks outside the development and only very limited family transportation options, the children are truly isolated. Now every morning this summer, camp counselors will meet the children at their homes and safely walk the entire group about a half mile along the newly-connected stone trail to camp and home again at the end of the day. This “virtual camp bus” project provides walkability for these children, promotes healthy lifestyles, and provides access to needed programming. By creating a safe walking option for these children, America Walks and GreenAllies are opening up new opportunities for this underserved population.
Town of Ninety Six (Ninety Six, SC)
The Town of Ninety Six, SC is seeking to improve the existing town walking trail by adding three benches along the trail. The trail is used by all residents of this town of 2,000, but it is particularly used by senior citizens. By adding benches at strategic locations, more people will be encouraged to use the trail for longer periods of time. Having a place to stop and rest will make the entire trail safer and more accessible. The Town of Ninety Six is looking forward to making these trail enhancements for the benefit of all citizens.
Westchase District Community Fund (Houston, TX)
The recently constructed Trailside Park provides recreational opportunities within the Westchase District. This park includes a path that connects Hayes Rd. to the HCC Campus Trail. With the America Walks Grant, we will implement three art pieces on the walking path to enhance the walking experience. The three art pieces include a hopscotch, a playful maze, and vertical jump lines. These art pieces will engage trail users while on the walking path and will entice them to become return trail visitors. The areas surrounding the park include diverse land uses such as office buildings, apartments, library, hotel, and schools. Aside from Westchase District’s trail system, other off-road walking paths do not exist in this area. This project would provide a fun area to walk and will serve as the community link that ties that various land uses that call the Westchase area home. By encouraging people to come outdoors more and more, it will lead to healthier life styles and closer community niche.
Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Health Care System (Salt Lake City, UT)
The goal of this project is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the stairwells in the VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System (VASLCHCS) to enhance interest and increase use. Photographic murals of local outdoor scenes (i.e., Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Virgin River, Zion National Park) as well as inspirational quotes will be placed in high traffic stairwell locations in the hospital. Motivational signs, such as “Stairwell to Wellness”, will be used to direct Veterans and staff to the stairwells and increase interest in taking the stairs. The project will make it more enjoyable for Veteransand staff to decrease sedentary behavior and increase physical activity by taking the stairs.
Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County (Stevens Point, WI)
Portage County, with the help of the America Walks Community Change Grant, will bring “Arthritis Foundation Walk with Ease Program” to older adults in our community. “Arthritis Foundation Walk with Ease Program” is a seven week workshop and walking program designed help older adults develop a healthy and safe walking routine. The ADRC will train four new volunteers to lead workshops, purchase workbooks and class materials, and promote “Walking with Ease” in our community. Volunteers and participates will meet in different communities with publically accessible walking trails and indoor facilities to build friendships and begin healthy walking habits throughout the county.