Over the past month, our THRIVING for 10 Years series has focused on the three original WeTHRIVE! communities – Lincoln Heights, Lockland, and Woodlawn. Now we move on to communities that joined the initiative later, starting with the Village of North Bend.
Covering just one square mile, North Bend is a small community. But by making the most of WeTHRIVE!’s networking opportunities and technical assistance, the Village is taking big steps to support the health and well-being of its residents.
Doug Sammons was elected mayor of North Bend in 2012. “It was his goal to beautify the Village of North Bend, but in addition to that he wanted to make North Bend a healthier place for our children and adults,” said Marilyn Kramer, the village’s deputy clerk. “It was a good fit with the WeTHRIVE! program.”
When the Village joined WeTHRIVE! in 2013, Marilyn began attending the quarterly Learning Collaborative where community representatives have a chance to share experiences, ask questions, and get advice from each other. At one meeting, Marilyn mentioned that North Bend was trying to find grant funding to purchase equipment for a new playground. It just happened that the City of Montgomery was about to put a new playground in one of their parks. “They told me, ‘you can have our old equipment, we’ll donate it to you,’” Marilyn said. “I was so excited, I called Mayor Sammons from the meeting and said, ‘I think we have our playground.’”
In June 2014, the new playground at Presidential Community Park was ready – with the equipment from Montgomery, picnic tables donated by Home Depot, and landscaping donated by Lowe’s. “We had a huge opening day party,” Marilyn said. “That was a wonderful day. It is a small park, but it means a lot to the community.”
The story doesn’t end there. With technical assistance from WeTHRIVE!, Marilyn and Fran Romweber, council member and chair of North Bend’s WeTHRIVE! committee, started applying for grants to improve the park even more. “We were able to put in a shelter, adult fitness equipment, a security system and lighting at the park, all paid for by grants,” Marilyn said. “WeTHRIVE! is what opened the door for us.”
This is just one example of what North Bend has accomplished as a WeTHRIVE! community. Last year, council passed an ordinance making all village-owned property tobacco-free (read more about this here). When Route 50 was resurfaced, Mayor Sammons worked to have the existing shoulder of the road be converted to a bike lane. Baby kits that include safety information and baby items are available for parents and caregivers of newborns.
“Mayor Sammons and our council members are very dedicated to WeTHRIVE!” Marilyn said. “It’s just been a wonderful experience for us. We love being a WeTHRIVE! community.”
Read all our stories about WeTHRIVE! in North Bend: