By Bethany Anderson
Freelance Writer

The Johnson County Health Department was awarded a $20K Grant Health through Healthy Active Built Environments. With this grant, Cunningham Park will get some much-needed upgrades to their pool, playground, baseball fields, and other areas in need.
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) has increased its primary prevention efforts over the last few years, with the understanding that they cannot rely on health care alone to improve health outcomes. County and metro health departments continue to provide essential clinical services but are also working alongside health care and non-health care partners outside the clinic walls to build healthier, more equitable and more livable communities.
To that end, TDH offered the first round of the Rural Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments grants in 2017. The grants support cross-sector work that enables people to make healthy choices where they “live, learn, work, play and pray.” They are intended to encourage collaboration between local health departments, local governments, and other stakeholders to plan, develop, implement and assess projects and programs which increase public access to physical activity and healthy eating.
Renamed the Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments grants are offered to all counties in Tennessee.
The 2019 grants are to help communities improve health outcomes by enhancing programming for and access to physical activity, particularly for young children who may have no or few other opportunities.
The grants also assist in enhancing the built and natural environments of public places and spaces so that people have access to healthy food, and access to safe places for physical activity, time in nature, and socializing; and enabling shared learning about the projects and programs among leaders
and communities across the state.
By supporting targeted and sustainable physical activity and healthy eating programming and active and healthy built environments, communities will create a culture of health and provide opportunities for social and community engagement. Additional benefits may include enhancing the attractiveness, pride and economic strength of the community by providing opportunities and amenities that are valued by residents and businesses.
The 2019 Health through Healthy Active Built Environments Grant Program has enabled Mountain City to plan some much-needed upgrades in town. This grant will be utilized to purchase at least two pieces of playground equipment for Cunningham Park, which houses a playground, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a little league baseball field.
“I am just thrilled!” said Flo Bellamy, Mountain City’s Community Center Director.
The funding will also be used to purchase non-skid flooring for the pool areas
and bathroom, install water to the bathroom/shower area, and install new ventilation fans in the shower/changing area.
It is not known yet who will complete that work or when it will start. But once that information is available, it will be covered in future reports.
These improvements will make Cunningham Park a safer place for the youth our Mountain City to enjoy for many more years to come.
For more information on Cunningham Park and
it’s facilities, call Gary Phillips, Superintendent at (423)727-6651.