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TSET Board of Directors Approve Incentive Grants for 11 Oklahoma Communities

Walking trails, sidewalks and playground equipment are among projects.

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 16, 2020) – The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors approved Healthy Communities Incentive Grants for 11 Oklahoma municipalities during their March meeting. The grants will fund health-promoting projects such as sidewalk improvements, walking trails and exercise equipment.

“Communities play an important role in encouraging healthy choices,” said TSET Board Chair Bruce Benjamin, Ph.D. “Ensuring that citizens have access to safe and convenient spaces for physical activity are vital steps to improving the health of Oklahomans and creating a state that ranks among the healthiest in the nation.”

To be eligible to apply for an incentive grant, communities must implement tobacco-free policies and other health-promoting strategies. The incentive grant program complements TSET’s other initiatives that seek to reduce the leading causes of death in Oklahoma – cancer and cardiovascular disease – by empowering Oklahomans to make healthier choices to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.

Grant awards for the TSET Healthy Communities Incentive Program are based on population size and the types of strategies implemented. These strategies include adopting ordinances that make all city-owned and operated property tobacco-free and vapor-free, implementing street and zoning policies that improve walkability and promoting increased access to fresh healthy foods through community gardens and farmer markets.

Projects funded by incentive grants must seek to improve health. Once grant funds are awarded, local entities decide how the grants will be spent. Communities have used grant funds to for walking trails, community park improvements and enhancements, splash pads, community gardens and farmers markets.

Among the grants approved on Thursday, the communities of Minco, Mustang, Kaw City, Locust Grove and West Siloam Springs plan to build or improve sidewalks or walking trails. Garvin, Tishomingo, Adair and Chouteau plan city park enhancements. Vinita plans to build a fitness zone that is wheelchair accessible. Ketchum plans to purchase exercise equipment for senior citizens and playground equipment.

“We are proud to recognize these communities for their efforts to improve the health of their citizens,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “The Healthy Community Incentive Grants are an important tool for building local partnerships across the state and offering communities the resources they need to improve the quality of life of residents. We know that change begins at the local level, so these grants empower local officials to make the improvements that will have the greatest impact on their community.”

The community grants awarded on Thursday were:

  • City of Garvin $36,000
  • City of Minco $10,000
  • City of Mustang $24,000
  • City of Tishomingo $36,000
  • City of Vinita $50,000
  • City of Kaw City $22,000
  • Town of Adair $36,000
  • Town of Chouteau $36,000
  • Town of Ketchum $36,000
  • Town of Locust Grove $36,000
  • Town of West Siloam Springs $22,000

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. To learn more, visit tset.ok.gov.