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News Releases from Region 03

EPA to Help Montgomery and Smithers, West Virginia Improve Health, Environment and Revitalize Local Economy

06/22/2017
Contact Information: 
Terri A. White (white.terri-a@epa.gov)
215-814-5523

(PHILADELPHIA, June 22, 2017) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced that Montgomery and Smithers in West Virginia are among ten communities selected to participate in the Healthy Places for Healthy People planning assistance program. Healthy Places for Healthy People is a new initiative that helps communities leverage health care facilities to foster downtown revitalization and economic growth, improve health and protect the environment.

“Healthy Places for Healthy People will help Appalachia’s smaller towns integrate community health clinics and centers into their visions for long lasting economic development,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chairman Earl Gohl.  “Healthcare providers, businesses, and institutions all have a role to play in our Region’s sustainable economic future.”

In many communities, health care facilities can be catalysts for economic development, while investment in existing neighborhoods can improve walkability, protect air and water quality, encourage cleanup and reuse of contaminated properties, and conserve open spaces and natural resources.

Through Healthy Places for Healthy People, a team of experts will help community members and health care facility partners develop strategies and an action plan to address persistent needs, such as better health, improved public safety, basic infrastructure, and jobs. Partner organizations include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities.

In Montgomery and Smithers, Fayette County will partner with Montgomery General Hospital and New River Health Association (a Federally Qualified Health Center that runs a school-based clinic) to identify ways that the health and wellness sector can reinvigorate the regional economy and contribute to cleaning up blighted properties downtown.

EPA support for Healthy Places for Healthy People is provided through the Office of Sustainable Communities, which promotes locally-led, community-driven solutions that protect human health and the environment and strengthen local economies.

Support for Healthy Places for Healthy People also comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

More information:

Healthy Places for Healthy People:  https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/healthy-places-healthy-people

Appalachian Regional Commission: http://www.arc.gov

Video on how planning assistance can help communities leverage health care facilities to support economic growth: Williamson, WV.

Map of Healthy Places for Healthy People communities: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-06/hp2_map2017.jpg