Pennsylvania Awards 10 Community Grants to Increase Community Physical Activity

WalkWorks grants have been awarded to 10 communities totaling $160,000 to assist with the development of active transportation plans and policies to increase physical activity options by connecting everyday destinations in their locales. WalkWorks, a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, continues to benefit from its close partnership with the Department of Conversation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its generous funding of two of the grant recipients.

“Having access to areas for recreation, such as walking and biking, is essential in helping to keep Pennsylvanians healthy,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “Physical activity can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and premature death. Being active also helps prevent weight gain, reduces stress that leads to burnout and improves mood and mental health. We are proud of this collaboration and grant recipients that support the efforts to encourage safe, physical activity in their communities across Pennsylvania.”

“DCNR continues to encourage participation in outdoor recreational activities as much as possible because of the immediate and long-term health benefits,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This initiative, in collaboration with the Department of Health, aligns with our larger goal of providing recreational opportunities for all. The pandemic continues to remind us of the importance of spending time in natural spaces and making the direct connection to our health is something we hope resonates in communities across the commonwealth.”

With this funding, the grant recipients will be working over the next year with professional transportation and community planners to collect data, assess current conditions and aspirations, and incorporate public input in order to craft locally pertinent Active Transportation Plans. These plans will chart a course to new and improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks.

This year’s grant recipients are:

  • Allegheny County – Forest Hills Borough:  $5,000; Verona Borough: $18,000
  • Berks County – City of Reading:  $20,000
  • Indiana County – Indiana Borough:  $20,000; Indiana County:  $16,500; White Township:  $5,000
  • Lancaster County – Akron Borough:  $20,000; Quarryville:  $18,000
  • Montgomery County – Royersford Borough:  $18,000
  • Susquehanna County – Susquehanna Depot Borough:  $19,500

Living in, working in, or visiting communities with safe, beautiful, functional and accessible public spaces and streets means being able to use activity-friendly routes to get to key destinations on a daily basis. Opportunities to increase physical activity and reduce obesity improves individual health, expands economic vitality and reduces healthcare costs.