Setting Sights on a Fit Future

As our grant cycle concludes, our excitement continues to build about all of the possibilities for a healthy community in Morristown.  Our survey is complete, we have starting to build our walking path, and we now have a better sense of what local residents want and need to see in order to be healthier.

Our survey had 133 respondents comprised of residents from the area senior centers, parents from children who attend programs at the Morristown Neighborhood House, and participants in Atlantic Health’s Family Health Center. Participants primarily lived in Census Tracts 043500 and 043800, which have media household incomes of $47,394 and $75,309 respectively. Of those who responded, 39.4% identified themselves as Hispanic, 30% as African-American, 27% as White or Caucasian, and 3.9% as Asian.

While 58% of survey respondents said they make time to exercise regularly, those that don’t feel that it is expensive, or that they need additional support. We’re now brainstorming programming ideas for the redesigned garden that include free classes on fitness, walking, yoga and more.

Of those that exercise, 70% said they walk, so we’re confident that our new walking path at the community garden will be beneficial to these residents.

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We began work on the walking path at the Early Street Community garden this summer. We had a landscaper come in to remove stumps and fences. They also cleared the roadway, graded it and then we had stone dust delivered and flattened it out to create the start of a path. The pathway is 3/4 of the way done. The other part will begin this November after we clear out the existing community garden plots to overhaul the entire space.

Also in the survey, we were surprised to find that 73% of residents said they eat fresh vegetables every day. Of those who said they’re not satisfied with their shopping choices for fresh vegetables, 55% say they aren’t happy with the price of available vegetables.

We also detIMG_20150923_125950ermined that 92% of respondents do not grow their own food — a low-cost way to obtain vegetables — and of those who don’t, 59% said it was because they don’t have space to grow.

This indicates that our garden expansion — to double the number of garden plots from 42-94 — will be a major boost to our community. We look forward to continuing our project this fall into next summer, when we hope to reveal the first phase of the garden redesign.

We are grateful for NJHCN’s support!


Planning, Partnership & Preparation!

Welcome back! We are so excited to be moving forward with our project to build a walking path at the Salem County Recreation Park, located between Carney’s Point and Oldmans townships.

This past month we have been meeting with our project partners to discuss our time line and plan for introducing the walking path to the community so residents know when it will be available to them. The county park, located on the corner of Perkintown Road and Route 130, currently hosts various athletic fields, and this walking path will expand usage of the recreational area.

Porposed Walking Path

We met with the Salem County Facilities Management office to work out the construction time line, and later this month, we will do a site visit to finalize the walking path location and identify any clean-up and prep work that needs to be done. Facilities Management, which is donating staff time to carry out the project, is scheduled to dig the outline of the path in May and lay the gravel base. By June, the asphalt is scheduled to be laid for the walking path.

We also have been reaching out to our community partners to help us with spreading the word about the path and to plan a grand opening. Preparing for the grand opening will include a park clean-up day, and we will be collaborating with the Penns Grove- Carney’s Point Men’s Softball League and the Little League to help.

Come back and visit our blog next month for updates on the layout of the path and other projects going on with our community partners.