Peabody gets health grant, seeks public input

Staff writer

The Peabody Community Foundation, through its recent successful Grow II campaign and funding from the Kansas Health Foundation, has established an endowment for health-related projects in the community.

The funds will be available every year from the PCF endowment, managed by the Central Kansas Community Foundation. The Peabody group is an affiliate of the larger Central Kansas Community Foundation.

To begin planning for the community to address its health needs, the PCF recently had a town meeting to receive input.

About two dozen residents attended, heard an explanation about the funding, and split into four groups to discuss and list health priorities.

“We specifically told them not to worry about the cost of any project,” said Nelson Patton, president of Peabody Community Foundation. “We wanted them to think of those things that could help create healthy lifestyles without being hindered by a tight budget.”

“The groups did come up with health-related projects, but also with quality of life improvement projects,” consultant Virgil Penner said.

The results included a wide variety of suggestions.

Appearing on the lists were the infrastructure necessary to improve Peabody’s water system, a concert hall/auditorium, solar and wind power, a new track, and a public gym facility with exercise equipment.

Members of all four groups listed a zero-entry indoor/outdoor pool, trails for walking, hiking, and biking, substance abuse prevention programs, extended food programs, and community gardens.

Expanded medical and emergency services, vouchers for eyeglasses, dental care, physicals, and immunizations were listed. Seventy topics for improved health were noted.

“The choices people came up with showed a wide variety of health concerns,” Patton said. “What we hope for now is to create a steering committee of people willing to work on some long term and short term goals.”

“The Kansas Health Foundation’s mission statement is to improve the health of all Kansans,” he said. “Their purpose also includes the support of plans that promote policy, systems, and environmental changes that support health. So something as far-fetched sounding as a new or upgraded water system, wind energy, or a new auditorium might not be impossible.

“The potential for improving the health of the community through this program is huge. We need some folks who can spare a couple of hours a month to step up and help us move forward,” Patton said.

Patton would like interested individuals to contact him at (316) 772-8048 or PCF board member Brad Nightengale at (620) 983-2181.

 

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