Essex County Public Health Department recently announced Jay, because of its planned community vegetable garden, is one of several recipients of the “Creating Healthy Places” grant awards. The town’s award, in the amount of $4,500, will be used to purchase such items as fencing, a tool shed, and garden tools for the first-ever Town of Jay Community Garden, which will be located in the recreation area along Grove Road in Au Sable Forks.
“The Town of Jay is honored to be awarded this grant on behalf of our residents, those in neighboring communities, and the wonderful volunteers on the community garden committee, who have already put a lot of time and energy into this project,” said Supervisor Randall Douglas. “We are also pleased with the amount of the grant, especially given how competitive the applications appeared to be.”
In the award letter, Jessica Darney-Buehler of the county Public Health Department reported that more than $75,000 was requested from organizations throughout Essex County, confirming “the tremendous groundswell of community motivation for creating healthy places.” Selected projects, Ms. Darney-Buehler continued, “are those that use policy and environmental changes to improve availability of places to be physically active or availability of healthy foods. Proposals were evaluated based on whether described projects met these criteria, had an appropriate budget, would produce the desired outcomes and would be sustainable.”
In an effort to stretch the grant dollars available and fund as many appropriate projects as possible, the county’s review committee is offering partial funding to all selected projects. In its grant application, the Town of Jay requested the full $5,000 and received 90 percent of that request.
The application was developed and drafted by volunteers serving on the community garden committee, with Fred Balzac being responsible for the text, Susan Hockert for the budget and estimated costs, and with additional input from Supervisor Douglas as well as other members of the committee.