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Healthy Initiative Moves Forward With Seven Big Steps

Activate Southington awarded seven grants Tuesday to help promote local health and wellness.

It began with support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now, using $2,000 set aside from its origins, Activate Southington, the new community-wide health and wellness initiative, has infused seven sectors of the community with mini-grants in an effort to make Southington one of Connecticut’s healthiest places to live.

From the two largest of $500 and $400 to five $250 grants, each award went to support physical activity and or healthy learning on a town, school or group. The checks were given away Tuesday evening in a special ceremony at the Strong Elementary School.

Garnering much excitement from attendees piled into the media center - where 'healthy' snacks such as apple slices and fresh veggies were provided - was not only the largest award, but one that is intended to be a product of and resource for the entire town: a Southington Community Garden.

The Open Space Committee secured a spot on Kennedy Lane near Town Hall along with donated supplies and labor. Residents will be able to enter a lottery system for their own plot.

Chairman Robert Berkmoes said the garden will offer training in organic gardening and make donations to local food banks.

The Thalberg Elementary School received $400 to expand an existing gardening program. The money will be used to implement raised beds to allow handicapped students access to participate.

“This is going to make it so much easier,” said teacher Linda Reilly, who invited the public to visit the school's garden where pupils are at work Tuesdays and Thursdays around noon. 

Additional awards will go to support a new outdoor employee walking program at Mulberry Gardens, supplies and a fitness consultant for the 2-year-old Southington DayCare Providers, a daytime running program for first- and second-graders at Strong School, the Wayton Open tennis tournament for town residents, and a family walking club through the Family Resource Center. 

“We’re so thrilled by the variety of things that are going on here,” said John Myers, executive director of the Southington YMCA and head of the joint public and private initiative.

Myers admitted that the grants might not be enough to sustain all seven programs, but is confident the money is enough to get the ball rolling.  

Arthur Cyr April 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM
#1. - This mini 1/4 acre location is on ACADEMY STREET, not the fictional Kennedy Lane. #2. - They are jamming 20 small 10 x 20 ft micro-plots on this site, because they were in a rush to do something this year. #3. - "make donations to local food banks" ?? from a 10 x 20 mini plot?? Pure fiction. But now with a $500 grant they have a way to pay for the water. Southington ratepayers will absorb the $1,000 to $1,500 cost of installing the meter.
Patrick Holland April 27, 2011 at 04:44 PM
How do we get in to the lottery for the plots
Arthur Cyr April 27, 2011 at 05:31 PM
Good question. One group was told they were giving the plots to the SENIORS across the street at Elderly Housing, and another group was told it was for needy people, and last night still another group was told there was going to be so much food grown there that they would be donating it to the local Food Banks. Starting to see a pattern here?? You have about as much chance of getting a plot there as I do.
Bonnie Sica April 27, 2011 at 07:00 PM
You can download an application or go the the Planning and Zoning office to pick up an application. If more than twenty applications are received then there will be a lottery for the plots. Plots are for only one year. If you need any further information please call me at 860-621-9553.
Bonnie Sica April 27, 2011 at 07:03 PM
This process was never rushed and it has been carefully planned and has taken 15 months. Please don't believe everything that is posted by Art Cyr. His posts are very inaccurate. The open space meetings are open to the public or you can always call a member for information.
Arthur Cyr April 27, 2011 at 07:54 PM
This process was indeed rushed. The Academy parcel was only looked at AFTER their Feb. Open Space meeting. That is a rush job. The prior "perfect" location was contaminated. Ms. Sica continue to slander me in e-mails and on these postings like this because their inaccurate information gets challenged. Not the first time her misstatements have been challenged. Ask her these questions: How is having the Senior Living Center across the street favorable to a community garden if plots are given away by a lottery? (As she told the Town Council) Why aren't the 20 parking spaces shown on the SITE MAP being put in to make available parking for this project? (You won't believe what she told the Town Council about those parking spaces!) If a tiny downtown URBAN parcel is so perfect for a community garden, why is the other long established large garden out on East Street? If this tiny parcel is so "perfect", why did they first look at the large field on Flanders? Ask her to explain how this will bring "foot traffic" to downtown (as she said in an e-mail to the Town Council). Ask her why they didn't go to the fields in the 47+ acre Griffin Parcel at the end of Pleasant Street. Ask her why they didn't go to the 6+ acre level lot of the former Milldale School next to the Milldale Fire Dept with available parking area. Finally, I do not call or speak to people who have a long history of misinformation and personal attacks. I stand by all my previous posted facts and information.

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