LiveWell Prowers County Reviews Successful Year

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“Now that we’ve become more visible through our community oriented events, we’re really gaining momentum,” was the way Emily Nieschburg summarized the past year for the LiveWell Prowers County Health Coalition.  A luncheon meeting recapped some of the goals the organization attained through 2013 and focused on what can be done in 2014. 

Nieschburg provided members with a short, fill-in-the-blank quiz which highlighted some of the accomplishments from the past year which stressed community input on several key projects.  She also presented City of Lamar Engineer, Wiley Work, with a certificate of appreciation for his hands-on involvement in such projects as the Project HOPE Community Garden and his background work during the Urban Land Institute’s visit to Lamar this past April.   

Some past highlights included:  health coaches met with 2,600 patients on healthy eating and active living during routine medical visits, registrations for adult and youth rec sports grew by 1,000 this year, Health Places will bring $1,000,000 of funding to the City of Lamar, health coaches had approximately 5,600 community encounters in Prowers County, the development of the Neighborhood Garden at the Lincoln School Project HOPE Center,  300 volunteers showed up for ‘build day’ at the North side park, 800 people attended the first Family Fun Day at Willow Creek Park and Wiley, Granada and Holly school districts increased their moderate to vigorous physical activity time in Phys Ed from 32% to 64%. 

Nieschburg said there is still room for improvement in adopting a healthy livestyle for residents and students alike, nothing that only four minutes out of thirty is devoted in physical education classes, nationally, to what is considered vigorous exercise and only one in ten children in Prowers County consumers five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  Children in the county, on average, consume two sugary beverages a day for about 300 calories based without nutritional value.  Over a year, that’s almost 110,000 empty calories. 

Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director, said the City of Lamar is planning to contract with the Britina study group for a four to five month analysis of a Community Master Plan.  Akers stressed to the gathering that this will not be a parks and rec development, but will concentrate on citizen’s input for what they’d like to see in the way of recreation facilities in the community.  “We’re not looking at softball, baseball, football or soccer,” Akers explained.  He added, “We need to concentrate on the 13 to 19 year olds who aren’t involved in organized sports through the year.”  Akers mentioned such areas as walking trails around town, an additional frisbie golf course, a skateboard park and general improved infrastructure within the community for exercise outlets for all ages.  He said planning is also underway to develop more artwork in the parks in the community, working with the Southeast Colorado Arts Council.  Akers and Nieschburg stressed the need for community input, similar to what was seen when members of the Urban Land Institute conducted a needs assessment study for the town this past April.

By Russ Baldwin

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