Since his first term in office, Mayor DeMaria has been a strong proponent for building a healthier City, and the administration continues to work hard to achieve a healthier and happier environment for the people of Everett. Improvements to both infrastructure and services are being implemented – from increasing the accessibility to affordable gym plans and healthy food, to making our buildings, streets, and neighborhoods safer.
The Everett Health & Wellness Center is the driving force behind the initiative to making Everett a healthier city. Since its inception in 2015, the Health Center has grown with new levels of participation – this year expanding to 5,426 members. Over the past four years, the administration has continually met its long-term goal of increasing the accessibility, availability, and affordability of both exercise programs and healthful foods in the community.
Strategies to achieve the healthful foods goal include; working toward changes in school food procurement policies – stocking vending machines with healthy snack and beverage options at all municipal facilities, assisting schools in meeting basic nutritional guidelines – approaching small stores to promote healthier food and beverage options, and working with local restaurants to add healthy options to their menus.
In addition to increasing awareness and availability of healthy foods, the Mayor’s administration also continues in its mission to increase opportunities for physical activity. Projects include establishing a “Complete Streets” policy design standard for the City, in which streets and developments are constructed and refurbished with all users – motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit – in mind. These policies include; bike lanes and paths, raised crosswalks, flashing pedestrian signals, improved bus shelters, and traffic calming measures.
The Department of Planning and Development and the City Services Department have also been making strides toward a healthier and safer community with updates and additions to city infrastructure. Recent Capital Improvement Plans have renovated Glendale Park, Swan Street Park, Florence Street Park, Gramstorff Park, Sacramone Park, Meadows Park, Wehner Park, and Herman Day Park, in order to provide a safe and well-maintained space for youth, seniors, and families to exercise and play.
Mayor DeMaria stated, “We are providing our children with the best recreational facilities in the state. We have renovated over eight parks in the last couple of years. Park renovations and recreational programs provide our children and families the opportunity to participate in team sports and enjoy open play- but these park improvements are only a small down payment to the citizens of Everett.”
These improvements and continued efforts will help ensure that the City grows in a positive direction, remains strong, and educates and assists its residents in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is this type of cooperative work that will ultimately build a healthier Everett.