Rocket Park in Manistee is one of the many parks/play areas designated “tobacco free,” thanks to a Live Well Manistee initiative. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)
MANISTEE COUNTY — Since 2016, parks and play areas in and near the City of Manistee have been designated “tobacco free,” thanks to an initiative spearheaded by the Live Well Manistee coalition.
In 2018, Live Well Manistee is expanding the “Tobacco Free in Manistee County” initiative after successfully writing for and receiving approximately $1,500 in grant money from the Northwest Michigan Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition.
“The tobacco-free initiative really focuses on providing a safe and healthy place for children and youth to play and engage in physical activity,” said Melanie Perry, public health planner at District Health Department #10 and member of Live Well Manistee. “It benefits health through a holistic approach — targeting physical health; modeling a tobacco-free lifestyle to prevent youth tobacco use in the future; and maintaining a healthier environment free of tobacco litter.
“Live Well Manistee has a strategic plan which helps guide the coalition’s work,” she added. “Within our strategic plan we have a goal to inspire tobacco-free lifestyles through a variety of comprehensive strategies.
“One of those strategies is to promote tobacco free outdoor recreation areas, especially playgrounds, through education and signage.”
The current efforts focus on expanding the list of tobacco-free play areas throughout the county. Prior to the start of the expansion, there were 12 parks (10 in the City of Manistee and two in Stronach Township) that have been established as tobacco free.
Since receiving notification of the recent grant award, three additional parks have been added to the list: Crystal Lake Park and the Crystal Lake Beach Area in Norman Township as well as Dickson Township Park.
“We are hoping to add as many parks as possible to the tobacco-free parks initiative,” Perry said. “We encourage anyone who is interested in working toward transitioning a local park to tobacco free to reach out to us and we are happy to assist.
“Currently, there is no cost associated with the parks that agree to go tobacco free as long as we still have signs available.”
Live Well Manistee still has funds to help additional parks take the tobacco free pledge, according to Perry. All that is necessary is for the governing body overseeing the park or play area to pass a tobacco-free resolution and give permission to display the tobacco free signage.
“Throughout our journey so far, all governing bodies have been very receptive and excited about the tobacco free parks initiative,” Perry said.
Once designated as tobacco free, the park or play area will be promoted along with the other tobacco free parks.
The local Great Start Collaborative holds playgroups at local parks throughout the county during the summer. Parents who participate in the playgroups have been very supportive of the tobacco-free parks initiative.
“Creating tobacco-free parks not only benefits the cleanliness of the parks,” said parent Shannon Patrick, “but it also creates a healthier atmosphere for our children.”
Those interested in suggesting a park or child play area to be designated as tobacco free should contact Perry at email@example.com or (231) 309-8949.
Current Tobacco Free Parks:
City of Manistee: Rotary Park, First Street Beach play area, Rocket Park, Lighthouse Park, Fifth Avenue Beach play area, Reitz Park, Mack Park, Sands Park, Duffy Park and Morton Park.
Stronach Township: Stronach Township Park and Claybank Park.
Norman Township: Crystal Lake Park and the Crystal Lake Park Beach Area.
Dickson Township: Dickson Township Park.
Live Well Manistee was formed as a workgroup of the Manistee County Human Service Collaborative Body in 2007. Those interested in promoting a healthy lifestyle in Manistee County are encouraged to participate.
Live Well Manistee meets from 1-2:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at Centra Wellness on Glocheski Drive.
For more information, visit livewell4health.org or facebook.com/livewell4health, or contact the coalition’s chair, Erin Barrett, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Dylan Savela on May 30th, 2018
Source: Manistee News Advocate