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Live Well Sioux Falls receives grant


Sioux Falls, SD (KELO AM) - Live Well Sioux Falls, a community-based health initiative, announced Friday that they have received funding from The Wellmark Foundation Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant program to promote bicycling in Sioux Falls.

“We are grateful to The Wellmark Foundation for this funding,” says Mary Michaels, Healthy Community Specialist with the Sioux Falls Health Department. “This allows us to further our efforts in promoting healthy, active living. This particular project will focus on encouraging bicycling for both recreation and commuting.”

Project components include implementing a bike rack “cost share” program, increasing the number of sharrows and enhancing bike routes to encourage bicycle trips, and promoting safe bicycle commuting through a new Live Well Sioux Falls website and other public awareness efforts.

The MATCH grant is a challenge grant program, according to Matt McGarvey, Director of The Wellmark Foundation. Live Well Sioux Falls will receive $30,000 from the Foundation, but Live Well Sioux Falls must show a dollar-for-dollar match to achieve a total project budget of $60,000.

“The purpose of the program is for dynamic community programs like Live Well Sioux Falls to use The Wellmark Foundation dollars as a catalyst to bring other funding to important health needs of a community,” says McGarvey. “One of the foundation’s priority areas for funding is advancing work in promoting active living and the built environment, meaning the physical environment in which we live and how that enables us to be physically active.”

“People who have a choice between a bike or a car choose a bike commute for three basic reasons,” says Sioux Falls Transportation Planner Sam Trebilcock, a partner in this project. “It’s a greener way to get around, it relieves congestion, and it’s beneficial to the rider’s health. This project is designed to help make bicycling an easier choice.”

A significant part of this grant project is the bike rack “cost share” program, says Ceca Cooper, Vice Chair of the Visual Arts Commission.

“With the rapid growth of bicycling in recent years, as well as the need for safe and secure bicycle parking in Sioux Falls, the Visual Arts Commission desired to incorporate visual art with bicycle parking opportunities through a program called BikeSmart,” explains Cooper. “The Commission invited artists of all backgrounds to provide bike rack designs. We are pleased to see this initiative by Live Well Sioux Falls to further promote healthy living by promoting bicycling and to provide usable art for functional bicycle parking.”

Through the funding support of The Wellmark Foundation MATCH Grant, businesses and organizations can apply for a grant of up to $500 from Live Well Sioux Falls that can be applied toward the fabrication and installation of artistic bike racks. A catalog of BikeSmart designs approved by the Visual Arts Commission and the application form is available atwww.siouxfalls.org/bikesmart. Organizations may also submit an original design with their application.

“Live Well Sioux Falls is about much more than just the Health Department,” says Michaels. “It is a broad-based effort that has already been successful because of collaboration among community partners and our colleagues from other City departments.”

“This is very exciting for Live Well Sioux Falls,” says City Sustainability Coordinator Jamison Reginek. “It’s a major step for sustainability efforts. This grant will not only help enhance our community’s vitality, but it will also help reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by residents, which is a major goal within the City’s Sustainability Master Plan.”

For more information, please contact Mary Michaels in the Sioux Falls Health Department at 605-367-8286 or by email at mmichaels@siouxfalls.org.