San Pablo wins national ‘Culture of Health Prize’

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The City of San Pablo has received national recognition for pushing innovative ideas that promote the health and well-being of its residents.

The city was one of eight communities out of 200 across the U.S. to earn the 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Culture of Health Prize,” which comes with a $25,000 award.

According to the Foundation, San Pablo city has proven to care for the health of its residents by implementing a number of programs and initiatives since the last recession, when one of every five San Pablo residents was unemployed.

The award recognized San Pablo in part for implementing a job training program, constructing a community center, establishing a Youth Commission and expanding entrepreneurship support through the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation.

In an online tribute to San Pablo’s accomplishments, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s twice-monthly deliveries to the San Pablo Senior Center was highlighted, along with an affordable tattoo removal service for local job seekers.

The city’s work to bring youth, seniors, law enforcement and city officials together, partly through the Youth Commission, was also praised as forward-thinking. Also, the city partnered with state and federal agencies to remediate vacant railroad land into the Rumrill sports park, partly using federal tax credits. It also used federal tax credits to build the new community center adjacent to a middle school, which offers students free or affordable after-school activities, including a teen lounge and classes like ballet and karate.

“Through our community efforts, San Pablo has become a regional model for how to strengthen the overall health of a community,” said Matt Rodriguez, San Pablo’s city manager. “Winning a RWJF Culture of Health Prize will help our efforts to continue integrating national best practice models into our community, and signifies we are moving our city in the right direction.”

The other seven winning communities include Algoma, Wis.; Allen County, Kan.; Chelsea, Mass. Garrett County, Md.; Richmond, Va; Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York; and Vicksburg, Miss.

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