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IN MY OPINION


Hallandale Beach

Mayor Joy Cooper

Joy@mayorcooper.com

@mayorcooper 


HALLANDALE BEACH - By Mayor Joy Cooper - Premier park system puts HB in an elite class -

Over the past year, the City of Hallandale Beach has embarked on creating a premier park system. This would not have been possible without the strong support and vote of our residents. Parks are so important, they are not just about having open space. Parks are for enhancing the health of our residents and improving our quality of life. As part of our commitment to these goals, our City has continued to add vital programs to ensure that parks have something for everyone. While we provide programming, we have strived to save taxpayer dollars by initiating various partnerships.

Due to our hardworking staff at the Hepburn Center, multiple City departments and Broward County, our community was selected to become a Healthy Community Zone. Broward Regional Health Planning Council was awarded $1.7 million dollars from the Federal Health and Human Services Department. The grant is to support public health efforts focused on reducing chronic diseases, promoting healthier lifestyles, reducing health disparities, and control health care spending for everyone.

Broward Regional Health Planning Council’s “Partnerships Transforming Our Community’s Health” (TOUCH) initiative is one of only 39 grants awarded throughout the United States. TOUCH in turn, set up a grant application process to distribute these funds. Their goal is to reduce tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, improve nutrition, increase physical activity and improve access to programs for preventing and managing chronic diseases. TOUCH includes a coalition of 25 other community organizations within Broward.

According to Michael De Lucca, “The TOUCH initiative and its many community partners are focused, as we work together to make it easier for people to make healthier choices in what they eat, how they manage their health and encourage physical activity on a daily basis, we will also be able to reduce chronic conditions and early deaths from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.”

With this in mind, there was a focus group brought together to establish a Hallandale Beach zone. The zone encompasses the area surrounding the Austin Hepburn Center. The boarders include; North Pembroke Road south to Foster, East to Dixie and West to NW 8th Street. I had the chance to join the group to do a walking assessment of the HCZ. After the walk, we generated a need assessment for the built environment and other group observation that would make the area more inviting to walk and play.

The group did break out sessions and brought forward ways to improve the community. The connections have become a Woman’s Cancer Walk, Friday on Foster, the Good Neighbor Store Initiative, bike fix it stations, donations of smoke free zone signage and train the trainer SPARK. This will allow a group of trained volunteers to do diabetes monitoring services. We already have partnership with Philpany for food access, a planned community garden and focusing on a PATCH partnership for growing local produce.

After the completion of our assessment, Hallandale Beach applied and was awarded one of four grants countywide. The grant will be for three years. While the HBZ was targeted in one area, the programs created are accessible to all of our residents.

In addition to this program, we have continued to expand services by committing to partner with AARP. I brought forward a request to become an Age Friendly Community. We are the first city in Broward County to partner with AARP to set out to assess our community to make sure that we have resources for everyone of age in place and to lead a productive life. Currently, we are planning a kick off to bench mark our resources. We will be working directly with our citizens to see where we can enhance existing services and fill the gaps.

The Hepburn Center Human Resources Advisory Board is also looking for nomination for the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian of the Year Award. To make a nomination, you can submit an application to the board which can be found on-line or be picked up at one of the City facilities. You can nominate an individual or a group for the outstanding service to help those in need. For more information, you can contact the Hepburn Center at: (954) 457-1460.

Please do not forget, next week we will be holding our budget workshops. CRA will be on Monday and City Budget on Wednesday and Thursday. All workshops will be held at City Hall 4000 South Federal Highway, starting at 12 p.m. Please visit our City web-site at: www.cohb.org for more information on all of our meetings and meeting agenda material.  As always, I value your input on our budget and what needs and services you want addressed.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions/concerns and ideas at my office: (954) 457-1318 office. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or e-mail me at: joy@mayorjoycoper.com.

I also welcome the opportunity to come to your next meeting to review our budget and other City issues anytime. Call the above number to schedule an appointment. Have a Happy Hallandale Beach weekend. As a reminder, we are still in Hurricane Season, so please make sure that you are prepared!