The Healthy By Design Coalition has received a $100,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to continue efforts to make the South Side of Billings a healthier, more vibrant neighborhood. This marks the fourth consecutive grant received from the Kresge Foundation as part of their FreshLo initiative that began in 2016.
FreshLo focuses on integrating food-oriented development with creative place-making to revitalize neighborhoods. Billings is one of 23 communities across the nation selected for the funding opportunity. In addition to financial support, the Kresge Foundation provides the selected communities with technical assistance and shared learning.
The grant will allow members of the Healthy By Design Coalition to work directly with South Side neighborhood residents on two key projects: South Sidewalks and Brighten Up events. Inspired by a similar project created by Public Art Saint Paul, South Sidewalks will incorporate resident-generated poems into sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. Brighten Up events will focus on connecting neighborhood businesses, organizations, and the South Side Task Force around shared neighborhood improvement projects, such as neighborhood clean ups or service events.
“Our goal is to make the healthy choice, the easy choice. When a neighborhood feels welcoming, people are more likely to go out and enjoy walking around the block, getting to know their neighbors,” says Melissa Henderson, Manager of the Healthy By Design Coalition.
Key project partners include the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Billings-Yellowstone County Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of Billings Public Works Department, the South Side Task Force, and Western Heritage Center.
Coalition members, also, continue to highlight the Bright Side of the Tracks brand through traffic signal box wraps, entry way signs, and South Side Stories walking routes. Efforts are still underway to reintroduce a small scale grocery store to the neighborhood.
The Healthy By Design Coalition, is a partnership created by Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health, and St. Vincent Healthcare.