SARANAC LAKE — A grant will help North Country Healthy Heart Network implement community health upgrades at Brushton-Moira Central School.
Funds from Adirondack Foundation will support construction of a new outdoor recreation area at the school.
The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program will purchase equipment to outfit the site with basketball hoops, funnel and pickle ball courts and ground stencils for Math and Movement Class activities.
Programs that encourage student use of the area during free periods and after school are in development.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that youth get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity daily.
The Heart Network and its partners are committed to making sure local youth meet or exceed that minimum.
“We live in a region brimming with outdoor recreation opportunities, but we can’t assume that just because the opportunity exists, people are able to take advantage of it,” Ann Morgan, executive director of the Heart Network, said in a news release.
“A variety of factors — economic means, access, physical health — can keep kids and adults from getting the recommended daily activity they need to help prevent chronic disease.
"Creating health equity in our communities means creating accessible infrastructure that lets anyone get active and moving, regardless of circumstances.
"The Generous Acts Fund is helping us along the path to healthier, more vibrant communities.”
Cali Brooks, president and CEO of Adirondack Foundation, said that investing in community health projects "can pay immeasurable dividends — from helping to stave off chronic disease to easing financial costs associated with health care.
"That’s why we are excited to support this proactive approach to facilitate healthy communities through enhanced opportunities for outdoor activities."
For more than a decade, the Heart Network, with support from the State Department of Health, has worked with school districts identified as high-need.
Poverty, education and childhood-obesity indicators all suggest that the highest-need districts in Franklin County are Brushton-Moira, Salmon River and Malone, the news release said.
In addition to the infrastructure work in Brushton-Moira, the Heart Network will also work with St. Regis Mohawk School on campus improvements and continue its Complete Streets work in Malone.
“The Heart Network envisions vibrant North Country communities where use of active transportation and farm-to-institution programs are the norm,” Morgan said.
“It’s our hope that a visitor to one of these communities will always see residents out walking, biking and recreating, regardless of the season or weather.
"Not all residents will always make the healthy choice, but all will have equal opportunity, ability and support for doing so.”