(Map courtesy Allegheny County Health Department)
Duquesne and East McKeesport are among four municipalities newly designated at "Live Well Allegheny Communities."
The designation by the Allegheny County Health Department signifies that the municipalities are committed to helping residents get better access to exercise and healthy food options and limit unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes.
In Duquesne, officials announced that they are partnering with the Steel Valley Trail Council to promote the city's connection to the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail, and to encourage residents to use the trail. In addition, the city is seeking funding to provide better pedestrian and bicycle access to the trail from the neighborhoods on the other side of Route 837.
In addition, Duquesne is partnering with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to provide and encourage residents to purchase fresh food from farmers' markets, and is encouraging buildings and playgrounds to go smoke-free.
In East McKeesport, borough officials are using social media to encourage community participation in wellness events. The borough is developing walking maps as well as indoor and outdoor wellness trails accessible to residents of all abilities.
In addition, East McKeesport is providing its employees with incentives to walk or bike to work, and will host an OpenStreets event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3.
East McKeesport, like Duquesne, is also putting a priority on farmers' markets and encouraging property owners to make their buildings and the surrounding areas smoke-free.
With the addition of Duquesne and East McKeesport, the Live Well Allegheny program now includes 41 municipalities, 10 school districts, and 45 businesses, including 35 restaurants, some with multiple locations, a county spokeswoman said.
"What’s even more exciting is that we have room to welcome even more and encourage residents to learn more about the initiative," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said she is committed to eventually engaging all 130 municipalities in the county in the program.
"These efforts to surround citizens with healthy options can make a big difference in the health of our county," she said.
Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by Fitzgerald as a way to encourage residents and communities to discuss physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness. The effort is being led by the county Board of Health and Hacker.
McKeesport, Glassport, Port Vue, Clairton and Elizabeth Twp. already have been designated at "Live Well Allegheny" communities.
Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well, a county spokeswoman said.
Originally published April 27, 2017.