The city has been given a $60,000 grant for mid-size U.S. cities to create ways to improve public health.

The “Invest Health” initiative is a collaborative program of the Reinvestment Fund and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aimed at helping cities with 50,000 to 400,000 residents develop new ways to improve healthy living opportunities for residents by addressing, in part, access to safe and affordable housing, exercise and quality jobs.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally said the application is a “pretty good” partnership between the city, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., Youngstown State University and Mercy Health to take a “family-oriented” approach to improving health.

“Over the next 18 months, the initiative will be looking at ways to combat obesity in city residents, to really focus efforts on residents using city parks for recreational purposes,” McNally said. “Also, it will be looking at access to housing markets and safe homes.”

The team will look at ways to reduce the number of occupied homes in serious disrepair with lead hazard issues, reducing the number of wide open, abandoned properties littered with trash and criminal activity, improving the safety and condition of sidewalks and streetscapes, and improving infrastructure in city parks and other public areas.

U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced the grant Tuesday.

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