The North Country Healthy Heart Network has selected the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board to receive the new Healthy Place Maker Award. The Heart Network award is presented to an individual or organization that has taken substantial action to institutionalize a health promoting resource or practice and demonstrated commitment and ability to develop and grow independent of Heart Network technical support. Heart Network Board Chair Sue Patterson presented the award, which included a plaque and cash prize, at the July meeting of the Complete Streets Board.
“The Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board is a shining example of what the Heart Network aims to do; it builds foundations for healthy communities, and in this case – the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board is the foundation from which many new health promoting opportunities now emerge,” said Patterson.
At the presentation, Jamie Konkoski, Heart Network Program Manager, shared a brief history of the group’s development.
The complete streets project in Malone began in 2010 when interested citizens attended a training hosted by the Heart Network and Franklin County Public Health Department. From that training a group calling themselves the Malone Complete Streets Partnership formed with the goal of creating a plan to make Malone streets more walkable. Heart Network staff trained these volunteers to assess existing conditions for walking and then used the information gathered to help draft a Malone Complete Streets Plan.
The plan outlined a variety of projects and programs that would make Malone streets more pedestrian friendly. The Partnership presented the plan to the Village and Town of Malone and in 2014 it was adopted. The group was officially established as the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board and charged with overseeing implementation of the plan.
Heart Network staff continued working closely with the Advisory Board helping to build the expertise and financial capacity needed to implement the plan. Using the Complete Streets Plan, Heart Network staff were able to secure a number of small and large grants to support their infrastructure projects. The Heart Network also continued providing members of the Advisory Board with Complete Streets training and education opportunities.
Over the years, the need for Heart Network assistance decreased as members of the Advisory Board became their own local experts on making Malone more walkable. They have hosted educational forums, worked with developers to make sure sidewalks are included in new commercial construction projects, and encouraged more walking and biking through the Explore Malone Walk/Bike Challenge. The groups’ crowning achievement was the recent award of a $1.35 million grant for construction of sidewalks. Members of the Complete Streets Advisory Board, without any assistance from the Heart Network, wrote the grant application.
Konkoski explained that “the Advisory Board’s pursuit and receipt of these new grants, without any technical support from the Heart Network, are evidence that this group has truly achieved sustainability. We couldn’t be more proud to recognize their accomplishments by making them the first recipient of a Heart Network Healthy Place Maker Award.”