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Hyattsville health committee makes recommendations

HyattsvilleMunicipalBuildingHYATTSVILLE – A welcome packet, health survey and health lectures may soon be offered to Hyattsville residents if the health committee’s recommendations are taken up.

The Hyattsville Health, Wellness and Recreation Committee presented its first-year findings and recommendations to the city council at the March 6 meeting, where the recommendations were also scheduled for council discussion.

“Despite active engagement in the city, when we had our first meeting one of the things we learned is that there were a number of resources that the city had as related to health and wellness that we were not aware of,” said committee member Gerrard Jolly. “As well as a number of the investments that the city has made in terms of health, wellness and recreation.”

The committee specifically set forth three recommendations for the city to consider in its upcoming fiscal year 2018 budget, which is still being developed. Those recommendations included creating and distributing a “welcome packet” for new residents with a list of resources available, creating and administering a citywide survey to assess residents’ needs and interaction with the city in regards to health, wellness and recreation and hosting “health impacts of climate change” seminars for residents.

Jolly said the main focus of the three proposals is to bring light to amenities the city has for its residents as well as to increase engagement among the city’s population. He noted there are areas of the city that tend to have less engagement than others.

“We wanted to prepare some proposals to address some of those challenges that we identified,” he said. “So we proposed three recommendations that have a budget impact of less than $20,000.”

The city welcome packets, which the committee said it would create with help from city staff using previous packets made by residents and the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC), are estimated to cost $5,000.

Those funds, according to council documents, would be used to create, print and disseminate 500 printed copies of the packet so each ward would have 50 copies and 250 would be available at the city building. City staff estimated the cost of 500 eight-page, full-color brochures at $800. However, some council members and some on the committee believe eight pages would not do the welcome packet justice.

Councilman Edouard Haba had questions about the quality of packet and its size, and Patrick Paschall wanted a better understanding of how the $5,000 would be spent and the scope of the packet – i.e., would it include county resources as well.

Jolly said the committee anticipates adding 10 to 15 pages, but would also look to decrease costs by partnering with the Hyattsville CDC and by reducing color.

Mayor Candace Hollingsworth suggested the city look into distributing the current CDC packet and give the committee a year to develop its welcome packet, though City Administrator Tracey Nicholson said there could be some legal barriers to distributing the CDC packet.

For the assessment of health, several council members voiced concern with the possible $10,000 price tag and with the possible overlap of obtainable date from the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) – sponsored health studies.

“They will be able to provide data at the census-block level, which is slightly larger than the census-tract,” Hollingsworth said. “The city is within a block and it may cover a slight small amount outside of the city limits, and that’s a resource we could get for free.”

Solomon said the $10,000 proposal was not for the healthy survey itself but to add questions to the citywide satisfaction survey and for the committee to put together a report based on the COG information. But that explanation was challenge by city staff who believed the funds were just to add the questions to the citywide survey.

For the seminars, Hollingsworth said that recommendation has the strongest appeal for her. The total estimated cost is $2,000 and those funds would be used to host informational sessions on the health impacts of global warming.

“This one is an easy one for me,” Hollingsworth said.

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Last modified onWednesday, 08 March 2017 21:34
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