Fun 'N FITchburg
Since 2009, the City of Fitchburg in collaboration with Montachusett Opportunity Council and numerous partners, has worked to address barriers to healthy eating and active living through policy, systems and environmental changes. Efforts to address healthy eating and active living derive from research-based studies that show community base prevention and intervention strategies have a positive effort on health outcomes such as diabetes, asthma and obesity. Fitchburg has a higher rate of asthma, diabetes and obesity than the state average.
A Bit of History
Fitchburg is Getting Healthier
Fitchburg, MA is making some very positive changes for your health: where sidewalks connect to parks and schools, fresh fruits and vegetables are more available in neighborhoods, and recreational areas are safe and clean! These changes are happening right before your eyes, through the following FUN N' Fitchburg initiatives:
Complete Streets Initiative:
Through our Complete Streets initiative, Fitchburg will become a more livable community for all residents, including children, diabetics and elder adults. Goals of the initiative are to improve equity, safety, and public health while reducing transportation costs. Remember Complete Streets strives at making streets safer for ALL street users not just motor vehicles!
Active Living/Built Environment: Trails and Open Spaces:
The focus of this initiative is to improve access to parks and under utilized public spaces.
Healthy Eating/ Active Living:
Our focus with this initiative is to target residents in low income neighborhoods ( which have the highest rates of poverty) and improve access to fresh food, to include the Fitchburg Farmers Market at least four months annually!
Changes Have Already Been Made
- Built over 40 community gardens
- Worked for all farmers markets to accept SNAP and Farmers Market Coupons
- Created an adopt-a-park program with 16 parks adopted by residents/groups
- Adopted healthy food guidelines for vendors at city parks and concessions
- Partnered with the police and Parks Department to make parks Safe Zones
- Developed the "Side Yard Sales Program" whereby abutters are able to obtain ownership to blighted or vacant abutting lots with requirements to make lots "healthy" once again.
- Assisted in the development of a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan and supported initiative with a public hearing.
- Assisted in the design and grand opening of a new park at the corner of First St. and Railroad St.
- Partnered with Growing Places to improve the location, operation, and marketing of the Farmers Market. 2016 saw a 25% increase in sales at the Farmer's Market!
- Supported the creation of Fitchburg Public Library's "Rent a Bike" program to promote physical activity.
- Supported change on Main Street toward Complete Streets initiatives.
According to the MA Department of Public Health, Fitchburg’s youth are no longer ranked 2nd for BMI. In fact, Fitchburg schools’ BMI has improved by over 10% since 2009!
Join Us in Our Next Steps
- Collaborate with regional partners to develop a policy that addresses mobility with a focus on alternatives to automobile travel; including Complete Streets.
- Complete a regional food assessment to identify barriers and develop strategies to address identified barriers.
- Develop a needs assessment analysis through community input and engagement that identifies the root causes of disparate health conditions in Fitchburg.
- Increasing healthy food access and physical activity in Fitchburg neighborhoods.
- Transforming vacant lots into healthy eating/physical activity spaces