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AN ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PARTNERSHIP FOR BETTER COMMUNITY HEALTH.

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Presentation on theme: "AN ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PARTNERSHIP FOR BETTER COMMUNITY HEALTH."— Presentation transcript:

1 AN ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PARTNERSHIP FOR BETTER COMMUNITY HEALTH

2 Goals Tell the story of how a city/coalition partnership has improved the health of one small, rural community Explain some of the mechanics of how to get things done. Give other communities hope. If it can happen in Iola, it can happen anywhere.

3 The Partners City of Iola Population 5,700 Full-service city (water, gas, electric utilities) Approximately 100 employees Operates under Mayor/Council/Administrator form of government (8 member council) Located in Allen County in Southeast Kansas

4 The Partners Thrive Allen County 6 year-old health and wellness coalition (501(c)(3)) Five full-time employees Countywide focus Coalition totals approximately 500 people across county of 13,300 Based in Iola

5 Thrive’s VISION is that Allen County will be the healthiest rural county in Kansas. Thrive’s MISSION is to support and encourage programs, policies and resources that promote access to healthcare, healthy lifestyles, and positive community conversation that improves the well- being of residents of Allen County, Kansas.

6 What’s Happening in Iola? 2 new miles of trail complete in city limits—links to Prairie Spirit Trail and Southwind Rail Trail (16 additional miles of trail in county) Phase 1 of new ¾ mile east-west connector comes this summer (Missouri Pacific Trail) 2,800 linear feet of new sidewalk under construction on “big box” corridor (old US 169) New subdivision with 85 units has sidewalks on both sides of street and trail connection Bike sharrows being painted THIS WEEK Pedestrian signs in 8 crosswalks with heavy pedestrian use New athletic fields Dog park, disc golf Iola is home to Mad Bomber Run – largest 5K in SEK County health ranking up 15 points in 4 years

7 Some explanations. We are not rich. We are not in a metro area (90 minutes from Johnson Co, 2 hrs from Wichita) We do not naturally have an active transportation culture. We live in the sickest, poorest, most depressed region of Kansas. We are NOT “a bunch of hippies” – this is a conservative community. So how does THIS happen…….?

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9 Early adopters. City of Iola has been doing active transportation since before it was “cool” We have an UNofficial or de facto Complete Streets policy The key was the PEOPLE.

10 Taking our lumps. This did not come easily. Fair amount of grumbling about trails and sidewalks that “nobody would ever use.” Conditions started to change around 2010 People DID use these facilities-in surprising numbers!

11 Thrive entered the picture Thrive involvement didn’t begin until Much of Thrive’s work has been focused around planning and finding funding Able to provide public support (and pressure…) The Vision Iola built environment provided a roadmap for infrastructure improvements that will improve health

12 Providing Backup Some topics that would have been tough for the city to bring up politically—extension of trail, for example—have been pushed by Thrive Thrive can take heat because, as a coalition, it is not subject to elections and same level of public scrutiny—plus, most of our funding comes from private foundations that are out of town.

13 But the relationship with the city government is key. It doesn’t matter how much noise your coalition makes—if the city doesn’t want to do it, you’re basically powerless. That’s why we’re grateful for supportive staff and city council. Relationships don’t happen overnight. They have to be built and nurtured—and they have to be mutually beneficial.

14 My, my, my…how things have changed! Things have evolved so much that now it’s the city council pushing for sidewalks—2,800 ft sidewalk currently under construction to connect Prairie Spirit Trail to Walk-Mart and other big box retailers on the north end of town.

15 Now, the momentum is on our side. The blowback from the public is only a fraction of what it once was— bike and ped facilities have much more public acceptance now than ever before The united front has made it safer for BOTH parties to push active transportation

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17 Questions? Corey W. SchinstockDavid C. Toland Assistant City AdministratorExecutive Director City of Iola, KansasThrive Allen County


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