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Blue Zones policies adopted by City Council

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Monday night, during the City Council meeting, seven policies were adopted that are meant to help Spencer become the first Blue Zone community.

"The policies that were adopted are a way to make our community a healthier placer to live and thrive," said Community Program Manager Alison Simpson. "This is all about giving the healthy choice a chance, and even the playing field for all citizens to create well-being in their lives."

The strive to be a Blue Zone community started this summer when Spencer became one of four sites in Iowa that received a designation. The program is a way to change the environment in ways that will assist citizens into healthier behaviors. The goal is to help people live longer and happier lives.

According to Simpson, these policies are Spencer-specific.

The first policy is the City of Spencer Employee Breastfeeding Policy. This will provide city employees with space and time for breastfeeding. It will increase the overall support for mothers to continue breastfeeding practices, and be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

The second policy increases the access to fresh drinking water in the city by providing drinking fountains in public places. The hope is to raise water consumption in the place of sugar-filled drinks to help reduce weight gain.

An outdoor dining policy would allow restaurants along Grand to place tables outside. The tables have to leave a five-foot walk-way, and the area complies with Spencer's regulatory ordinances, according to Simpson.

There is also a policy that promotes farmers markets and community gardens in Spencer. The gardens will be located throughout the community, and plans for construction will move forward this spring.

"No matter where people live, they will have access to land where they can plant a garden," Simpson said. "The locations will be based on need and interest, based on the applications we get."

Simpson hopes the gardens will be ready for the planting season this year. There will be guidelines for what can be planted that will be available to interested applicants.

There is a policy that will design and maintain the streets for both vehicles and pedestrians. The Complete Streets policy includes a pedestrian and bicycle master plan to increase the infrastructure. It will provide a connected network for all users of the roadways, Simpson said. It will provide safer travel on the roads.

"The big thing we want to emphasize is that these changes aren't going to happen overnight," Simpson said. "Some roadways need replaced, or fixed. It's a long process, but it gives Spencer a plan to move forward for the future."

The last two policies are mixed-use policies, which say the City will develop mixed-use areas of residential, commercial and civic. One encourages the use of Spencer School District outdoor areas by the community when the areas aren't needed for school purposes.

"This gets us really close to meeting requirements for the community policy. We need 1,000 more people to register and take action, when pledge items have been completed," Simpson said.

There are 750 people that have registered so far, but in order to become the first Blue Zone community there needs to be a little over 1,000.

"We need everyone's help with this," said Spencer Mayor Reynold Peterson. "Pledges need to be signed up again."

You can sign up and pledge at bluezonesproject.com.

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The first Policy is breast feeding....so now we have to take tax dollars and reconstruct these facilities to include child care services and a place to do this? Most working mothers' pump before they go to work, so their child has the milk. How much is this going to cost us? Is there funds set in place for it and don't you have to let the public vote on the matter?

Drinking fountains. This means that you will have to rip up sidewalks, streets, and who knows what else to get water lines to these fountains. How much is this going to cost? And should not the tax payers have to vote on such a proposal? It is our money that is going to it? Most healthy ppl drink water! When you trully work out, aren't you suppose to replenish with electrolites and sodium?

"There is a policy that will design and maintain the streets for both vehicles and pedestrians. The Complete Streets policy includes a pedestrian and bicycle master plan to increase the infrastructure. It will provide a connected network for all users of the roadways, Simpson said. It will provide safer travel on the roads."

So you want to take the gas tax and DOT money for redoing roads for more sidewalks and bicycles? Does this include Grand? What is wrong with the walk areas that are set up now? Or the bike routes? Are we to lazy to drive to these locations? Are we suppose to be worried about all these bridges that need redone first?

Having land available to ppl for planting, but you can ONLY plant CERTAIN items to the garden that is to FEED YOU. Hmmmmm?

My FAVORITE on is the use of the outdoor areas of the schools. Ah we do that anyways. We paid for the playgrounds and our children are/will use them during summer. The big grassy area behind the middle school, used for soccer, flying kites, and whatever else. So how is it up to you to tell us, we the ppl that paid for it, that we can use it now with your permission?

People of Spencer, please see this as what it is, a scam to spend your money in wasteful ways. I am all for ppl wanting to be healthy, but to have to get permission for places that we pay for is nuts, redoing roads for water lines, and expanding them, when we live in the country per say and have vast amount of area to do just this, breast feeding centers???, just blows my mind, getting permission to grow certain foods(when we can go to some farmers and just ask). Most of all to be paying this council to even think that this is worth talking about in how to waste ones dollar. We have other things to worry about, than these little FAD ideas. And don't forget, they want ppl in Deer Field to put in or replace sidewalks cuss the city was to lazy to make sure it got done the right way the first time around!They had rules but didn't seem to use them until this all came about. Now they want to implement them?!

-- Posted by acerdj on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 3:19 AM

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