The City of Colorado Springs has achieved Elite Status in LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign
LiveWell Colorado is proud to award Elite Status to the City of Colorado Springs for its commitment to building a healthy community. The city achieves this milestone recognition from LiveWell’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for advancing healthy eating and active living (HEAL) policies that help make Colorado Springs a healthy place to live, work, and play.
“We are honored to be recognized as a LiveWell Elite City,” said President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler. “Since joining the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign in 2014, Colorado Springs has moved several policies forward and embraced the importance of providing a healthy environment for our residents.”
Julie George, director of LiveWell’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, presented the award at the city council meeting on Tuesday, July 11. “Colorado Springs has made a significant investment in building a healthier community by working to improve access to healthy food and active transportation for its residents,” George said.
There are four levels in LiveWell’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign: Eager, Active, Fit, and Elite. In order to qualify for Elite status, a city must have adopted at least five HEAL policies since joining the Campaign. Some of the policies, programs, and practices Colorado Springs has put into place since 2014 include:
- Formed a health sustainability team joining agriculture, water, and transportation teams that seek to support HEAL tenets in these respective areas.
- Formed a Food Policy Board, which advises Colorado Springs City Council and El Paso County Commissioners on matters of policy, programs, operations, and land use rights affecting local food issues. Its goal is to improve public health, increase equity in Colorado Springs communities, improve regional food security and resiliency, stimulate local economic activity, and foster environmental stewardship. This board recommended the new Cottage Food Ordinance to City Council, is working on allowing more beehives in the city, and is finalizing a food system assessment.
- Approved the new Cottage Food Ordinance, which supports local food and small businesses by allowing community members to sell their home-produced cottage foods from their doorstep.
- Furthered active transportation goals through a “road diet” lane reduction project on Templeton Gap Road that embraces the tenets of Complete Streets (streets designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities).
- Invested in the health of city employees by purchasing sit/stand desks for all requesting one in the seven-story city administration building.
- Initiated the transition to 100% healthy food vending machines for municipal workplaces.
- Hired Senior Bicycle Planner Kate Brady in March of 2016. Brady recently renewed the city’s Silver Status with the League of American Bicyclists. She has gotten numerous bike lanes added to the city’s infrastructure and is working to create a bike parking ordinance for the city to encourage bike infrastructure in new developments.
- Mayor John Suthers led about 100 residents on a special city bike ride in June (pictured below/right).
“Although Colorado Springs is very proud of its Elite status in the Campaign, we recognize that we must continue our efforts to ensure access to HEAL for all of our residents, particularly those most impacted by health disparities,” said Gaebler. “We look forward to working with LiveWell Colorado as we continue down a path to health for Colorado Springs residents.”
To learn more about Colorado Springs and its healthy living initiatives, please visit coloradosprings.gov.
About LiveWell Colorado
LiveWell Colorado is a statewide nonprofit organization that increases access to healthy eating and active living by removing barriers that inequitably and disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color. For more information please visit livewellcolorado.org.
About the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign
Colorado is one of five states in the national HEAL Cities Campaign founded and funded by Kaiser Permanente. The Colorado Campaign is a partnership between the Colorado Municipal League and LiveWell Colorado that provides free training, tools, and support to help municipal leaders adopt and implement policies in three key areas: active community, healthy food access, and healthy workplace. Since 2013, LiveWell’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign has worked with more than 50 Colorado municipalities to adopt and implement more than 100 policies and infrastructure investments that increase access to healthy living. For more information please visit livewellcolorado.org/healcampaign.