OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 30, 2020) – A little over a year ago, residents of Haileyville, Oklahoma, were facing tough times. A tornado had battered the town of 893, destroying homes, businesses, parks and a new farmers market.
One year later thanks to the residents’ resilience and help from various organizations, the town is rebuilding. Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is one organization that lent a hand.
In 2017, TSET awarded Haileyville a Healthy Incentive Program grant for $20,000 that built a new farmers market; a tornado destroyed it just months after opening.
In 2019, the city was awarded a TSET incentive grant for $16,000. The funds helped build three new parks. Townspeople completed the project in summer 2020 despite the coronavirus.
Securing funds for city improvements can be a competitive process and it is popular grants like the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Communities that help cities, towns and municipalities improve their quality of life. Michelle Marston, Pittsburg County TSET Healthy Living Program wellness coordinator, says Haileyville officials are at the top of their game when it comes to the process.
“Haileyville Mayor David Johnson and court clerk Ryndie Liess are great about stretching grant money,” said Marston, who started working with Haileyville residents in April 2019.
The $16,000-grant helped the community build three separate play areas. One park is within walking distance of downtown Haileyville so families can easily go to the park, Johnson says. The other two parks are at nearby Dow Lake – one on the beachside, the other on the boat dockside.
Haileyville’s sense of community included a group workday. In June, both city workers and Robbers Cave Jeep Club members put together play areas at each park. Together, the volunteers assembled 15 pieces of playground equipment.
“The TSET grant has allowed Haileyville to create a safe place for families so children can play and enjoy the outdoors especially during this pandemic,” Johnson said.
As for the farmers market, the facility recently reopened and the city is working to fill up the facility with new vendors. For more information on the farmers market, visit Haileyville City Hall at 510 N. Main or phone 918-297-2402. The market is open year-round.
TSET recently announced that communities and schools could apply for grants from the TSET Healthy Incentive Program. The grants are open until maximum funding has been allocated. The funds are limited and based on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period closes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Learn more.
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 with local coalitions and initiatives 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. Learn more at tset.ok.gov.
TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health