Colorado Health Foundation recently awarded the City of Greeley a $1.1 million grant for their East Memorial Neighborhood improvement plan. This 3-year grant foresees to help develop a 17-acre grassy lot that sits undeveloped, into a community and child-led adventure play area in an effort to bring improved recreational opportunities to families in the East Memorial neighborhood. The Foundation’s Healthy Places initiative helps support the development of communities throughout the state into thriving healthy environments for families.
As part of the process, a weeklong study completed in February by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), established that the East Memorial neighborhood in Greeley was indeed an opportunity to change existing physical, socioeconomic and environmental barriers to create a stronger, healthier community. The Urban Land Institute is a global, member-driven organization that studies and gives advice about responsible urban development to cities and communities looking to thrive – a challenge the City of Greeley is excited to take on. The six main areas recommended as part of the study were to enhance healthy parks and encourage healthy foods, incorporate best practices, foster community engagement and empowerment, build a vision for urban design, involve the private sector and non-profit partners and make better connections with other parts of the City.
The East Memorial neighborhood, situated to the east of Greeley, is a densely populated area with approximately 7,200 residents, of which 37% are under the age of 18 years. As such, the area covers a high percentage of youth with limited access to city wide recreational activities and parks.
The winning 3-year project calls for a resident outreach and engagement process, as well as the development of additional programming involving not only the undeveloped East Memorial Natural Area, but also adjacent public areas including Balsam Park, East Memorial Park and Delta Park.
The City of Greeley believes that through the social, physical and programmatic improvements delineated in their successful grant application, the level of physical activity and access to nature will be elevated for the residents of East Memorial.
Other areas in the State of Colorado receiving grants include the southside of Commerce City, the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, and southeast Colorado Springs.