SPRINGFIELD, NJ—The Springfield Board of Health, in conjunction with the township, and possibly the board of education, is pursuing a grant of $20,000 over two years to help establish programs for healthier eating and living and a more active lifestyle among Springfield residents.

Township grants writer Nealon Isaacs, appearing at the health board’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, said the grant would come from the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network, a consortium of healthcare providers, businesses, foundations and individuals, whose website says the grants are dedicated to preventing chronic disease and obesity by “enhancing the built environment and developing policies to support healthy eating and active living.”

Some suggested activities include farmers’ markets, wellness programs and community gardens.

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However, Isaacs said that, because Springfield will be competing against many of its larger neighboring communities for a grant it would be helpful if the township presented a proposal that is unique.

Board member Lisa Stettner-Glennon suggested that the Healthy Families Program recently sponsored by the township might be one program through which financing could be pursued under the grant.

She noted that, under the program, families heard lectures on healthy living, dietary planning and other topics followed by a one-mile walk and yoga programs.

Township administrator  Andrew Ziad Shehady agreed that the Healthy Families Program might be among activities that could be included in a grant application.

Board vice president Sandy Harris said the township could cite assets already in Springfield, such as the municipal pool, Chisholm Community Center and the Springfield Farmers Market as further examples of promoting healthy and active living when submitting the grant application.

Stettner-Glennon also said that educational programs on such topics as suicide prevention could be suggested.

She also advocated programs aimed at drug abuse and awareness, especially in the light of the fact that there have been four fatal drug overdoses in the last few years among students in township schools.

A board of health subcommittee was appointed to help draft a board letter of intent to appy for the grant. The letter of intent is due on Wednesday, September 13, the day of the next monthly township health board meeting.

On another matter, Michael Fitzpatrick, who serves as the health officer for Springfield under a contract with the Madison Health Department, noted that he and his staff spent “multiple hours” this past summer dealing with problems in the swimming pool facilities at the Summit Hill Apartment Complex in Springfield.

Among other problems, Fitzpatrick said, the facility had a sewage pump located in the same room as the pump used to chlorinate the swimming pool.

He also said there was “scum” on the surface of the swimming pool and sand from the base of the pool was appearing in the water due to the lack of a sand filter.

The health officer added that the pool management company hired by the Kushner Companies, owners of the complex, had not done a good job and, among other concerns, was faced with a revolving staff with employees only staying for a short period of time.

He noted the pool had been shut down once and reopened only to be shut down again.

Fitzpatrick said a new pool management team is due to be put in place in September and he has been told there will be changes and upgrades to the facility including updating the chlorination system.

On another matter, the health officer said they were called to a Troy Drive condominium over a continuing problem with hoarding which may result in health issues.

He is pursuing the matter with the township social worker to see if they can address issues faced by the tenant doing the hoarding.

In other action, the board  voted to approve Springfield’s continued participation in programs sponsored by the New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute. The original agreement was signed in 2007.

It will cost the township an investment of $1,143.25 per year.

Shehady also announced that he and Township Committeewoman Erica Dubois are working on a half-day forum on mental health education. The program, at a cost of $60 per person, will include lunch. Information will be available at the municipal building.