HEAL City SPotlight: Frederick, MD
Updated July 2019
The City of Frederick joined the HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign in 2015. Just two years later, municipal leaders' and residents' investment and continued engagement in the Campaign has paid dividends. The City has made impressive progress in their efforts to ensure all residents have access to nutritious foods and spaces and opportunities to be physically active. Shortly after joining the Campaign, Frederick incorporated their HEAL Resolution into the City’s 2015 Sustainability Plan, which they saw as a vehicle to advance health and wellness in their community through infrastructure and policy change. In June 2017, The City of Frederick received Platinum HEAL recognition level at the 2017 Maryland Municipal League Conference.
One of the City’s biggest accomplishments is the completion of the first 12.5 miles of a proposed 27-mile shared-use path that connects the east and west ends of the City. The path has been an enormous success that provides residents active transit options to access jobs, schools, businesses, and City amenities. This work is supported by the City’s 2016 Complete Streets policy which has helped the City prioritize new development and infrastructure changes including shared lane marketing, sidewalks, and bus stops. The Complete Streets policy has enabled Fredrick to invest in shared-use street environments that accommodates the diverse needs of all their residents including walkers, hikers, car drivers, bikers, children, older adults, and people with disabilities.
The City of Frederick has prioritized health and equity throughout the City’s departments and operations. Frederick has increased farmers markets throughout the city with thirteen markets in the County, seven of which are in City limits. As the City works to promote increased access and market affordability, three of these markets have taken steps to track EBT and SNAP benefit participants to help inform the City’s efforts to improve outreach strategies. In addition to local food purchasing, City residents have access to community garden spaces located on City land and have been active in creating a new edible food forest. Resident’s interest in local food systems is further illustrated through the community initiative to solicited the Board of Aldermen to pass a chicken ordinance that allows City residents to keep up to six hens per home – a move to incentivize and promote local food production!
Even after receiving the HEAL Campaign’s highest recognition level, the City continues to find new and innovative ways to promote wellness among municipal workers, residents, and visitors. This past spring, the City of Frederick received a HEAL Implementation Grant to support an initiative to grow hyper-local food with low-income City residents. Funding will support this partnership with the City of Frederick Sustainability Department, the Frederick Community Action Agency, and the Frederick Food Security Network to improve Improving access to affordable, nutritious food by enhancing local community gardens, urban agriculture, and urban farming in low-income neighborhoods.