The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust has awarded nearly $4.6 million to fund 11 community projects in Oklahoma. These projects aim to improve health outcomes and enhance infrastructure in local communities. TSET will fund various improvements, including the development of community parks and trail systems, upgrades to fitness centers, and the construction of ADA-compliant sidewalks and playgrounds.
The 11 awardees and their projects include the City of Pauls Valley receiving $150,000 for the development of walking, jogging, and biking trails, Eastern Oklahoma State College receiving $110,000 for a health and wellness center, and Locust Grove Public Works Authority receiving $56,350 for improvements to Pipe Springs Park. Other projects involve Oklahoma State University, Northern Oklahoma College Campus, the City of Seminole, Cushing Public Schools, and several other towns and organizations.
The link between environments that encourage physical activity and improved health outcomes, such as a reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, and stroke, has been recognized. Julie Bisbee, the trust’s executive director, emphasized the importance of the connection between environment and health, stating that thoughtfully designed public spaces can encourage active lifestyles and promote better health for residents.
Several of the programs will be funded over a three-year period, allowing time for the development of these community projects and the assessment of their impact on health outcomes.