story: Kerri Regan photo: DevenCarter.com
CITY OF ANDERSON RECEIVES HEALTHY SHASTA AWARD
You won’t find capes on Anderson’s city leaders, and they can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. But the city was recently recognized as an Action Hero for its commitment to ensuring that its residents have plenty of places to walk, bike and play.
Healthy Shasta honored the 10,500-resident town for incorporating healthy policies into its General Plan – a long-range guide for development decisions as a city or town grows. Anderson’s new General Plan will make it easier to get around town on foot, and it expands parks and recreation programs that make exercise fun. Making walking more convenient (both for recreation and for transportation) supports healthy living, according to the team that bestowed the award on the Anderson City Council and city staff.
“Their efforts demonstrated their commitment to the health of their community,” says Alexis Ross of Catholic Healthcare West North State, a member of the recognition committee. “Voluntarily incorporating health and safety language into the General Plan will not only impact the health of everyone in the community right now, but these changes have the potential to impact the health of future generations.”
Anderson recently developed a trail system with exercise stations at Volonte Park and an 18-hole disc golf course at Anderson River Park. Downtown development includes wider sidewalks and parking lots behind buildings, which makes physical activity more convenient for residents and visitors. New trail extensions link low-income housing with parks, and “healthy snack zone” guidelines encourage youth, parents and coaches to bring only healthy snacks to youth events and sports. New development guidelines ensure that spacious parks – “not the typical tiny ones” – are spread throughout the city, says John Stokes, planning director for the City of Anderson
“Anderson is a small town,” Stokes says. “We want to make sure we keep this area walkable and bikeable.”
When city leaders look at new development, they want to make sure that there are plenty of pedestrian walkways, bicycle corridors, bike lanes or separated bike paths (like one that’s being built along Highway 273 near the Prime Outlets). They also have a new “rural estate” zoning, which combines agricultural zoning with lots where large homes are allowed. “In the ‘80s, agricultural zoning meant dairy farms or orchards. Now, we have a high value of agricultural crops like herbs, fruits, vegetables, wine grapes,” Stokes says. “We now have the ability to encourage strawberry stands … you can bring the food to the people.”
Though major land-use changes take many years, Anderson has made impressive strides toward building a better future, says Amy Pendergast of Healthy Shasta. “The great thing about Action Heroes is that they are serving others and making changes that may benefit people for generations to come,” she says.
Adds Tacey Watkins of Redding Rancheria, part of the Action Hero recognition team: “These community leaders have so much enthusiasm, which brings brilliant ideas for future improvements that will improve the health and fitness of children and adults throughout Shasta County.”