For Lindsay Heights to be a healthy neighborhood, residents need to communicate with one another more and adults and children need to get more exercise — playing on playgrounds, walking in parks and working out at affordable fitness centers. Reducing obesity and teen pregnancies should be priorities and neighborhood schools should emphasize health and fitness. Neighborhood residents also need more jobs and more support for early childhood development, mental health and literacy.
This, in part, was the consensus of more than 50 parents, youths, service providers and neighbors who gathered recently at the Northside YMCA. They came at the invitation of Walnut Way Conservation Corp. and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to the Lindsay Heights Community Café for a conversation about their vision of a healthy Lindsay Heights.
As the group considered resources that already exist in the neighborhood, resident Phyllis Wofford urged residents to spend time at North Division High School. “We need to take off from work and spend a whole day in school so [we] know what’s going on at lunch time, at recess time. That’s what we used to do,” she said.
Larry Adams of Walnut Way noted the lack of mental health support services. “One of the things that might be happening is that people with mental problems might be self-medicating,” he said.
Other residents commented on their interest in more communication between neighbors, community projects on which they could work together and better health through diet and exercise.
Wanda Montgomery, director of community partnerships at Children’s Hospital, said she and her team of consultants would consider the comments and report their findings to residents. “We want to come back and talk with you again, to look at next steps,” Montgomery said.
Health and wellness is one of eight areas addressed in the Lindsay Heights quality of life plan created last year as part of the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative. The plan came out of a yearlong community planning process. Periodic meetings are planned to report on progress toward reaching plan goals.