Allegheny County names 4 new ‘Live Well’ communities

A municipality, a school district, a nonprofit and an eatery are the latest entities to earn designation as “Allegheny Live Well” communities.

On Jan. 29, the county announced Penn Hills, Avonworth School District, Grounded Strategies in Larimer and Azorean Café in Bloomfield are the newest additions to the program.

The Live Well program, launched by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in 2014, now includes 62 municipalities, 48 restaurants, 28 workplaces and 16 school districts. Fitzgerald created the program to encourage entities within the county to embrace initiatives related to wellness.

The county-wide effort is being led by the Allegheny County Board of Health and Health Department director Dr. Karen Hacker. Funding is not part of the initiative, but participants are given materials and information on how to best promote the campaign and efforts to live well.

As part of the municipality’s participation, Penn Hills officials agreed to develop indoor and outdoor wellness trails, encourage walking and bike riding in the community and host events that encourage active living.

“Penn Hills will also promote smoke-free buildings, encourage physical recreation programs in the community and utilize websites and social media to provide information on physical activity, nutrition, stress management, tobacco cessation and other health and wellness related initiatives,” according to a county news release.

Allegheny County Council Vice President Nick Futules congratulated the municipality on the designation.

“I appreciate their leadership in taking action to improve the health and wellness of residents,” said Futules, who represents Penn Hills on the council.

Penn Hills Councilman John Petrucci said the designation is great for the municipality.

“Anything that can help to improve the health and well-being of the people in our community, I am all for,” Petrucci said.

He said the municipality has plans to construct walking and biking trails from Boyce Park to Penn Hills Community Park over the summer and already has banned smoking in all municipal buildings.

Scott Andrejchak, Penn Hills’ manager, said he is happy to partner with the county.

“We’re already doing a lot of things — like we’re smokeless at our parks and we’re encouraging smoke cessation throughout the municipality,” he said.

The Avonworth School District will offer unlimited fruit or vegetables during all meals and become a Community Supported Agriculture pickup site. A CSA member buys shares in the farms where their food is grown. The district also will host a 5K run in the spring and offer various exercise activities after school.

Grounded Strategies, a nonprofit that reclaims vacant and underutilized land to repurpose, will offer employees flexible work hours in exchange for a physical or wellness activity before, during and after work. The organization’s leaders also will update Grounded’s food policies.

Azorean Cafe, a Portuguese cafe, will cut some food portions in half and provide vegetarian dishes. The restaurant also will eliminate trans-fat oils and use plant-based oils when cooking.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, or via Twitter @dillonswriting.