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Sixteen cities and towns in Washington State have signed on as “Let’s Move Cities” to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to reverse childhood obesity in one generation. To participate, city officials pledge to take one significant action during a 12-month period in each of four areas:
In the city of Airway Heights, located just west of Spokane, Mayor Patrick Rushing plans improvements to the city’s built environment to provide increased physical activity. Mayor Rushing took the “Let’s Move” pledge in January after Mrs. Obama’s address to the National Council on Mayors annual meeting. He encouraged city staff to use the initiative as the centerpiece for community-wide efforts to continue to promote regular exercise and good nutrition. The city pledged to provide low cost and free after-school programs, work closely with Cheney School District to explore options for providing healthier options for school meals and apply Complete Streets principles to new development within the city. The city’s Master Plan includes the goal to add parks so that all citizens live just a short walk to one in their neighborhood.
"Let's Move" Cities in Washington State:
For J. C. Kennedy, Airway Heights’ Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services, the Let’s Move Campaign connects perfectly with planned environmental changes to support increased physical activity. “This is a natural fit for Parks and Recreation. We want to be the ‘go to’ agency for anything health-related,” Kennedy said, “We are pursuing Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets, and it is easy to get behind the more comprehensive challenge of the Let’s Move Campaign.”
Mayor Rushing believes the Let’s Move Airway Heights campaign helps residents understand and appreciate the impact of parks, recreation and open space on the health of individuals and the livability of the community. As an added benefit, Rushing sees Airway Heights’ Let’s Move City status as a credential to help with their fundraising for enhanced services and facilities for residents.
Featured: June 2011
Cities and Towns