Marysville Healthy Communities Project wins 'Hometown Spirit' award

MARYSVILLE — The city of Marysville has received a "Hometown Spirit" award from the Association of Washington Cities for its Healthy Communities Project.

"We submitted the Healthy Communities Project in two categories — Hometown Spirit and Community Service," said Jim Ballew, city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director. "We were chosen for the Hometown Spirit category because of our first Healthy Communities Challenge Day last year."

According to Ballew, the city submitted the then-3-year-old Healthy Communities Project for those award categories because of how much it had accomplished and how near it was to completing its first phase of operations.

Three years ago, Marysville became Snohomish County's first Healthy Community and partnered with the Snohomish Health District to identify and initiate steps to reverse the trend of obesity and chronic disease that saw it branded as a "fat city," through a community-based policy approach. A volunteer team prioritized action plans to improve the community's environment, nutrition and recreational opportunities in ways that would foster greater health. Among the Healthy Community Project's accomplishments are the Marysville School District implementing the Focused Fitness system and receiving $800,000 to implement strategies within the Healthy Communities Plan, as well as the construction of new bike lanes, fitness park systems and trails in the city.

"Healthy Communities Challenge Day has 80 vendors this year," Ballew said. "That's double the number we had last year, and all of those vendors are interactive. We're trying to get people out of their doors and moving around."

The Association of Washington Cities will present Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall and the City Council with the award June 23.

"It's nice to receive this recognition on the state level," Ballew said. "It's a feather in the cap for all the people who were involved in making it happen, thanks to their spirit and pride."

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