Middleport park equipment repaired and restored

Charlene Hoeflich

October 30, 2013

MIDDLEPORT — The Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Project of the Meigs County Health Department, in collaboration with the Village of Middleport, has completed the repair and restoration of playground equipment in the Ferman Moore Park located at the rear of Middleport Village Hall.

Funding for the park improvements was made available by the Meigs County Health Department with grants from three funding sources: The Creating Healthy Communities Grant from the Ohio Department of Health, the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund (SSJCF) of Parkersburg, W.Va. and the Together On Diabetes grant from Marshall University’s Center for Rural Health in Huntington, W.Va. Materials and equipment were purchased with funding from those sources, and the labor for installation was provided by the Village of Middleport.

Included in the park work was the installation of new backboards and baskets on the basketball court, new chains and seats on the two sets of swings, painting of the structures and the installation of gravel over protective pads around the playground equipment to make it safer for the children.

In viewing the improvements Tuesday, Mayor Michael Gerlach said the park has always been well used by the children, many of whom come with their parents and grandparents. He added that the repair and restoration of the equipment, made possible through the efforts of the health department and its Creating Healthy Communities Program Manager Joseph Verdier,has made it even more attractive for neighborhood kids and their parents who appreciate a safe place where their children can be active and families can spend time together.

Verdier explained that Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) is a grant program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administered through the Ohio Department of Health. Its purpose is to meet community needs with programs such as the playground initiative, implemented at the local level. “CHC projects are designed to enhance the abilities of local communities to develop and implement policy, systems, and environmental change strategies intended to help prevent or manage health-risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and obesity,” he said.

He further noted that specific project activities are directed at reducing tobacco use and exposure, promoting physical activity and healthy eating, improving access to quality preventive health care services and eliminating health disparities.

“The main focus of CHC is to implement programs and interventions which empower individuals and communities to engage in behavior change which can eventually lead to healthy lifestyles. This is done, by developing and promoting tobacco free policies, implementing programs to increase physical activities, changing the environment, promoting/supporting infrastructure changes that increase physical activities like biking and walking, and increasing/improving availability of healthier food and beverage choices in public service venues, schools and commercial entities. Meigs County CHC undertakes initiatives in communities throughout the county that impact its 24,000 residents,” Verdier commented.

Last year the health department contributed toward the purchase of new playground equipment for Diles Park in downtown Middleport.

He said that during 2013, the CHC project expended financial resources in support for projects and local initiatives geared towards promoting physical activity, tobacco free living and access to healthy food in Meigs County, and that in 2014, his hope is to collaborate with other communities to fulfill the Meigs County Board of Health’s vision of a healthy vibrant community wherein all residents can enjoy good quality of life.