The city of Lakewood is proud to share that it was recognized as a Health Hero at the Community Health Care 50th Anniversary event, held Oct. 30 in Tacoma.
In its first year, the award is meant to recognize people (or agencies, in Lakewood’s case) that “add substantively to the community, who make it a better place to live and work and who open avenues of opportunity to those who live in the margins.”
The city was nominated by founding City Council member and Lakewood resident Andie Gernon, who was also recognized at the event as a Health Hero.
In her nomination Gernon said the following about Lakewood:
“The record of the city in improving the community’s physical infrastructure would alone be worthy of nomination for the positive impact on community health and wellbeing. But in addition, the city has focused on providing services to its most challenged neighborhoods and residents. It uniquely dedicates 1 percent of General Fund revenues to providing funding to partner agencies which deliver human services to its 60,000 residents, particularly those who live in low-income neighborhoods, among the most economically challenged in Pierce County. Over its 23-year history this alone has provided several million dollars of funds to support the collaborative delivery of services. Early on the city sponsored the creation of a Human Service Collaboration which later became Lakewood’s Promise, a demonstration site for America’s Promise, the Alliance for Youth. For six consecutive years the city was recognized as an outstanding Community of Promise by America’s Promise for its coordinated services to young people.
The city also created a Youth Council to advise the City Council. Beginning with a single youth advisor 20 years ago, it now has in excess of 20 members representing all four high schools to present the voice of youth in city affairs.
To enhance neighborhood and individual safety and well-being, Lakewood implemented a Rental Housing Safety Program for rental properties as well as a Behavioral Health Contact Team in partnership with Greater Lakes Mental Health Care to assist those in crisis. Both of these programs have won civic awards. Lakewood has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to house people in Lakewood.
In the area of Parks and Recreation, Lakewood has developed numerous new parks and refurbished many others, to include the new Springbrook Park, and has created many free or low-cost activities to residents to enhance their quality of life and enjoyment of the city, such as a summer concerts in the park series, Daddy Daughter activities, and a summer Farmers Market on the grounds of City Hall providing nutritious local foods.
The city has assumed ownership of Fort Steilacoom Park and made dramatic safety improvements in facilities including a new dog park and repaving the loop around Waughop Lake, a popular walking trail that now safely serves residents from all over the South Sound. “
It was noted by the review committee that normally a government would not be recognized for a community aware, but as Gernon noted in her submission, the city’s “highly collaborative record” is worthy of such recognition.
“Lakewood may once have been known for crime and poverty but now is recognized for its civic leadership, volunteerism and exceptional history of innovation and collaboration with other civic groups and entities,” Gernon said.
The city thanks Gernon for the nomination and is humbled and honored to accept the recognition from Community Health Care.