The Norman Transcript

May 22, 2013

City awarded communities incentive grant

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The city of Norman was one of 21 cities recently awarded a Healthy Communities Incentive Grant from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

On May 9, the Oklahoma TSET Board of Directors approved a $35,000 grant for the city of Norman to help continue projects that promote physical activity, wellness and overall community health. The city of Norman received merit status for its work in this area.

City officials plan to use the money to install a fitness trail around the south side of Saxon Park near State Highway 9 and 36th Avenue Southeast. The trail will provide both cardio and fitness opportunities, as well as strength training areas along the trail with installed commercial-grade fitness equipment.

“I’m proud that so many individuals and businesses in the Healthy Community Coalition came together to secure this grant,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “From the city of Norman to Norman Regional Health System, our public schools, Moore Norman Technology Center, our local health department and the University of Oklahoma, we are all working together to make Norman one of the healthiest communities in Oklahoma.

“Thank you to Norman Regional Health System and the Healthy Community Coalition for their hard work. This hard work will ensure that both today and tomorrow’s Norman residents have opportunities to be healthy and enjoy the outdoor beauty of our community.”

The TSET board awarded a total of $191,000 in grants to cities across the state. This is the second year of the incentive grant program, bringing the total TSET grants awarded to $377,000.

Grants are awarded based on population and specific criteria met. All applicants were required to be certified through the Certified Healthy Community program, a partnership between the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the State Chamber and the State Department of Health.

The grants encourage communities to implement health and wellness-oriented policies and programs.

The incentive grant criteria focus on tobacco and alcohol use prevention; nutrition and physical activity; built environments and transportation; health services and community education and policy changes and community health improvement.

Other incentive grant recipients were Alva, Bartlesville, Blair, Blanchard, Bristow, Chandler, Collinsville, Elk City, Guthrie, Guymon, Lindsay, McAlester, Moore, Muskogee, Perkins, Prague, Sand Springs, Seminole, Tahlequah and Weatherford.

TSET was created by a constitutional amendment in 2000 as a long-term strategy to ensure that settlement payments from a 1998 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry are used to improve Oklahoma’s health status.

The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for future projects. Only the earnings from the endowment are used.