Community Walk & Bike Thrives in Bloomfield
Since its inception in April 2021, the Community Walk & Bike Program in Bloomfield has brought participants together for 2 walks (April 18th & May 16th) and 1 bike event (May 2nd). Future dates are June 6th, 20th, and 27th. The initiative was launched by Bloomfield Department of Health & Human Services in collaboration with Bloomfield Police and Parks & Recreation.
Raffle prizes have been distributed to our participants. So far, gift certificates from Anthony’s Cheesecake Restaurant, Rare Breed Mixed Martial Arts, and the Township’s Parks & Recreation Department have been won by participants from various age groups. Our most recent winners are Victoria (Parks & Recreations), Christine (Rare Breed), and Mila (Rare Breed). Other raffle prizes/ giveaways coordinated through Bloomfield Alliance Center include Eastern School of Acupuncture & Traditional Medicine, Jack’s Super Foodtown, Murdoch Shoes, etc.
This program has been received positively by the community, as well as the Township. In fact, collaborators are in discussion to transfer all future planning and coordination to the Township’s Police Department, and extend it past the original 12-weeks into the rest of the year. This is exciting news as Bloomfield Department of Health & Human Services (BDDHS) is always interested in ensuring that evidence-based programs are sustained for our community members. The Council and Police Department are interested in continuing this program every year with an event coordinated every 3 weeks. BDHHS staff are currently preparing for program evaluation to ensure that any changes made to the Bike & Walk program is grounded in quantitative/qualitative data and reflective of community needs.
BDHHS continues to collaborate with Bloomfield Community Garden. Plans to incorporate more inclusive practices (at Millbank and Pulaski parks) and increase access to gardeners who are differently abled via use of raised beds are underway. The original project completion date of mid-Summer has been complicated due to increase in cost of wood and issues stemming from supply chain. However, the team is moving forward; currently they are in the design phase and estimate all purchasing to take place by August 15th with installation around October 15th.
BDDHS’ collaboration with the community gardens has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Glen Ridge Council is consulting with Bloomfield township’s Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN) regarding the different venues/ methods to support a community garden and other sustainable initiatives.
Lastly, BDHHS’ original project for the NJHCN grant was to expand on play-equipment at Watsessing Park, so that children of all physical abilities can have opportunities for recreation and activities. During the initial planning and discussion phase led by BDHHS, community partners understood the importance of making policy-system-environment (PSE) level changes while ensuring these changes are also accessible by individuals with disabilities/ individuals who are differently abled. Essex County took full ownership of this project in the fall of 2020 and through grants from NJ Department of Community Affairs and Recreation & Open Space Trust Fund the expansion of the Watsessing Park in Bloomfield was completed recently ( https://patch.com/new-jersey/bloomfield/playground-all-abilities-grows-bloomfield-east-orange?utm_source=local-update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert ).
About the Grantee
The Bloomfield Department of Health & Human Services' mission is to prevent disease and promote physical and mental well-being through policy development, disease detection, prevention, education, and enforcement. We aim to do so in a culturally competent manner that ensures the highest quality of life for the residents we serve.