published Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Healthy Community Initiative may get more money for grants for Bradley County

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County commissioners are expected to finalize Monday the funding available to the county's Healthy Community Initiative for the 2012 cycle.

The program, which funds improvements to "the health care, wellness and quality of life of the citizens of Bradley County," may receive a $35,000 boost from previously awarded -- but unused -- money allocated to the Public Water Fund in 2009.

In a recent meeting, Commissioner Adam Lowe, a member of the Healthy Community Initiative Committee, discussed funding options with fellow commissioners.

"It's not the intent that these funds should go unused," he said of the $35,000.

If the entire amount is added to the program's current general fund balance of $67,500, the 2012 grant cycle would have $102,500 available for distribution.

Another $5,000 may be available, as well, Amy Moore, assistant to the County Commission, said in a recent meeting. That money was left over from the 2010 grant cycle. Current initiative guidelines request that grant be spent within a year, with the possibility of receiving a one-year extension.

The committee has set a deadline of Dec. 14 to receive letters of intent from government entities or nonprofit organizations. The committee plans to begin applicant reviews in early January.

The program was implemented in 2007 after the sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital in 2005, in which the county received $15 million and the United Way received $19 million, according to the Bradley County website.

Interest generated by the sale proceeds funds the grant program under an agreement between the county and United Way.

One of the initiative's objectives is to support "programs or projects that have the purpose of serving unmet health care needs within the community regardless of ability to pay." Educational programs and other services intended to improve mental and physical health also fall under the program's umbrella.

In previous years, the grants have funded equipment or improvements for parks, schools, charities, and government health care and emergency services.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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