The Tennessee Department of Health recently announced recipients of the Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environment grants, who are collectively being awarded more than $1.8 million in grant funding. The purpose of the grants is to award funding to communities to plan, develop, implement and assess sustainable projects and programs to increase access to safe and publicly accessible opportunities for physical activity for a diverse group of users, including those who live, visit, work, play, worship, and learn in the community.
“Where we live and how we live can matter much more than the genes we are born with, and we are learning more and more about how critical the physical environment is in that equation,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “We have been so pleased with the response and excitement from communities around Tennessee for these opportunities to create more livable spaces that encourage physical activity and social engagement in ways that make life better for all of us.”
There are 35 grantees representing every region in Tennessee. Sixty-six percent of the grantees are from economically distressed or at-risk counties, as defined by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. Grantees are embarking on a diverse range of projects related to convening, programming, planning and construction of projects which promote physical activity, including outdoor fitness equipment, greenway construction and signage and creating park and/or recreation spaces such as playgrounds and walking tracks. Communities from 75 percent of Tennessee counties applied for the grants, totaling nearly $8 million in requested funding.
“Creating places for physical activity and crafting programming to encourage and incentivize exercise and play has the potential to positively influence the health of Tennesseans as well as the economic health of communities,” said Office of Primary Prevention Director Leslie Meehan, MPA, AICP.
Tracy City, along with Cowan and Tennessee State Parks, are among the 35 grant recipients.