Montana Public Health Association and American Planning Association Western Central ChapterTeam Up to Plan4Health
The Healthy Communities Coalition of the Greater Helena Area, Montana, is a recipient of a second-cohort Plan4Health grant. The president of the Western Central Chapter of the APA and an executive board member of the Montana Public Health Association are members of the Coalition. MPHA member and Coalition coordinator stated, “this was one of only 17 awards nationwide for the second cohort of this initiative. It is a real feather in the cap for both MPHA and WCCAPA! It’s a needed partnership for increasing health and well-being of our communities”
The $125,000 award will be used to hire a consultant to design an Active Living Wayfinding System and communication plan for the community. By providing uniform signage and supporting material, the coalition hopes to increase participation in physical activity and improve access to nutritious food programs. Currently, neither the city nor the county has trail and park access signage or supporting outreach materials to help users know how to access the community’s many parks and connecting trails to key areas for accessing services and neighborhoods. There is an opportunity to increase health equity by guiding people to places that offer opportunities for exercise and nutritious food.
The Greater Helena Area is poised to establish essential physical activity and nutrition linkages to create a healthier, more vibrant community. The community has been working diligently to implement the Complete Streets Policy through revision of the City Subdivision Regulations and Engineering Standards. The community recently completed revisions of the Greater Helena Area Transportation Plan, the City of Helena Growth Policy and the Lewis and Clark County Growth Policy. A Downtown Master Plan is currently being developed. A wayfinding system and communication plan will help tie it all together, encouraging all citizens to use and benefit from active living and healthy eating.