In March 2017, the Bike Fort Collins Active Living program hosted an initial Pathways to Health event in collaboration with Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE), targeting professionals. This summit, titled “Connecting Neighborhoods and Streets for All,” brought together local and national experts to explore the connections between health, the built environment, and active transportation. While this event was extremely successful in its intention of building understanding about community engagement, changes to the built environment, and historical contexts, feedback from residents of Poudre Valley was that they desired to experience a direct, lived change.
In response, we decided that the second Pathways to Health session should shift the focus to residents by convening professionals and local officials to listen to residents’ concerns, and to offer services and guidance. On December 4, 2019, we hosted a resident-led Pathways event that served to create and strengthen connections between community members and practitioners; to establish lines of inquiry; and to create a vision for future community-driven projects within North Fort Collins neighborhoods and mobile home parks. This session aimed to “flip the script” by creating a space for community members to speak about their experiences in the North Fort Collins community and to share their vision with local stakeholders, policy makers, researchers, and educators. We employed language justice by contracting The Community Language Cooperative to provide simultaneous translation so participants could listen, speak, and interact in the language they preferred. We had high attendance both from residents and local stakeholders/community partners. The resident coalition chose seven individuals to speak on their behalf at this session. The primary foci of the speakers were Community Recreation, Health and Well Being, and Sustainability
Topic 1: Community Recreation
Areas of focus:
- Affordable and accessible activities for youth and older adults (dances, crafting, social events, after school activities)
- Location of activities
- Language of services
- High costs or inability to qualify for reduced fee services
- A feeling of lack of representation
- Interested in a building with a variety of stations for learning new skills, maker space and skills for youth, places to learn for teens that are low cost
- Would like a space for teens and youth to get involved and gain more hands on education related to areas such as cooking, mechanic and architecture classes.
- Young kids have opportunities to play at nearby parks, but teens need somewhere of their own to go.
- It is difficult to access activities and opportunities at Aztlan because of the price barriers
- Additional opportunities for sports in schools and funding for sports equipment
- Related projects and areas to get involved – Urban Renewal Authority, City Youth
- Commission, Communities that Care, Interfaith Council, Parks equity work
- City of Fort Collins Recreation Department – City of Fort Collins Parks Department
- Urban Renewal Authority
Topic 2: Health and Wellbeing
Areas of focus:
- Mental health
- Access to outdoor recreation and active living infrastructure
- Community safety
- Mental health resources and education are needed within the Latinx community to help breakdown stigma within the latinx population
- Safety and mental health within schools is a large concern. Parents would like their concerns to be heard more within the schools and students want to feel more connected to their teachers.
- Safety in parks also is a big concern among community members, as there is not enough lighting at night and in the morning
- Entrances to the mobile home parks are dark and often unsafe to cross the street and turn into the entrance.
- There are communication barriers between residents and mobile home park managers, residents want improvements to their communities to be made but managers often tell them they can’t do anything to improve areas and/or raise rent when something does get improved
- Related projects and resources available – Neighborhood Services mini grants, block party trailer rentals, community grant writing capacity building, Denver Lawyer resources
- Poudre School District Wellness
- City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services – City of Fort Collins Transportation Planning City of Fort Collins Parks Department
- CSU Public Health and Social Work
- Larimer County Built Environment Team
- CSU Institute for Built Environment
Topic 3: Recycling and Sustainability
Areas of focus:
- Drop off recycling locations
- Recycling availability in all neighborhoods
- Education on recycling practices and sustainability
- Sustainability in public spaces
- Visual communications and public discourse
- PVMHP residents struggle to get recycling bins, in part due to high costs.
- More recycling facilities and closer places in North Fort Collins are needed, perhaps a bin for drop off closer to North Fort Collins neighborhoods
- Education and classes needed within the community so that people know how to recycle and why it is important
- It is important to promote recycling with teenagers and incentivize among teens and families, put flyers in peoples mailboxes about what they can and cannot recycle
- Related projects and resources – The City coordinates volunteers/ recycling ambassadors at the Timberline center and out in the community, Pharos grant from Bohemian Foundation is available to help make communities more liveable, Gallegos Sanitation might be willing to talk and give out posters and provide education, create a youth led sustainability coalition.
- City of Fort Collins Environmental Services – City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services
- CSU Landscape Architecture
- City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability
- CSU Global Environmental Sustainability