Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities
Insight into inclusive planning practices is the outcome of the Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities project led locally by Siouxland District Health Department Health Planner Angela Drent, as Lead Coach, and SIMPCO’s Dawn Kimmel, as Community Partner Coach. The 18-month project wraps up its current funding requirements June 30. The pilot project provided 10 communities in five states with training and resources to identify and implement permanent policy, system and environment changes that improve inclusive practices throughout the community. Collaboration with an extensive list of community partners and the Disability and Health Coalition has resulted in the increased inclusivity in accessing health care and healthy food choices as well as physical activity.
“Inclusive” is more than basic compliance. Inclusive planning means that whatever the project, ease and comfort of use is an expectation that can be met regardless of one’s personal limitations. Each person should have reasonable expectation that services and amenities in the community are indeed for the community as a whole, regardless of age, size or ability and the physical limitations determined by such. If you would like to have an assessment to determine how your organization can be more inclusive, contact SIMPCO for more information.
Lawton Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant
Lawton increased community physical activity and nutrition through several healthy initiatives in the past year. Walkability audits were completed on all city streets using the Walkability and Bikability Suitability Assessment (WABSA). A sidewalk inventory and map were created based on the WABSA results. The coalition reviewed the results and prioritized community needs. The first priority was the completion of the sidewalk on the west side of Cedar St (K49). In spring 2017, the Cedar sidewalk segment was built with IDPH grant funds. In Fall 2016 a nutrition workshop was hosted to develop nutrition goals and priorities. Adding a faucet at the community garden was the identified priority. A faucet was installed in Spring 2017.
Prior to the sidewalk segment construction children were at risk by walking in the street. The sidewalk segment provides separation and safety from automobile traffic on the street. The sidewalk segment also meets the goal of completing a continuous sidewalk and trail system in Lawton to increase and facilitate physical activity.
The community garden faucets now provide irrigation for the local, healthy foods grown at the garden. Prior to the faucet construction, no irrigation was present at the garden and the vegetables were in danger of draught. The results of the healthy initiatives improved access to healthy foods through improvement of the community garden.
Sioux City Downtown Parking Report
SIMPCO has recently completed a downtown parking study for the City of Sioux City. The purpose of the study was to determine how downtown parking is being used during standard meter enforcement hours. SIMPCO staff visited Sioux City’s on-street parking areas and gathered information on which spaces were being used. Information on the parking garages was provided by ABM. The data was used to calculate the parking index, which is the average number of parking spaces that are occupied over time. The results revealed that Sioux City has a surplus of available parking. There is a much larger supply of parking spaces than what is being demanded by public. SIMPCO hopes this information will help Sioux City in its planning efforts for the downtown area. For access to the report, please click here.
SIMPCO has currently been working on the development of several Comprehensive Plans across the region. Currently in progress are Comprehensive Plan updates in Holstein, Marcus, Remsen and Dakota City, Nebraska. As part of the Comprehensive Plan process SIMPCO works closely with a city steering committee and organizes a series of public input meetings to gain feedback on topics such as housing, transportation, economic development, and community facilities/services. After a plan is approved by the City Council, cities are able to use the plan as an effective guide for future city development. Comprehensive Plans are an important step to gain community consensus on the vision and direction of communities and as a tool to apply for federal, state and local grants.
Le Mars Comprehensive Plan
SIMPCO completed the Le Mars 2017 Comprehensive Plan (http://www.lemarsiowa.com/DocumentCenter/View/1120) in early March 2017.