City of Blue Island
Model Communities | Model Communities Map
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Blue Island is a 170-year-old city located near the southwest corner of Chicago with a population of 23,500 residents. The Calumet Sag Channel runs right through the center of town. The City of Blue Island is ethnically and economically diverse, reflecting a large minority population of nearly 50%. Specifically, 48% of residents are white, 24% are African American, and 39% are of Hispanic descent, with 34% of Mexican heritage. In addition, over 22% of the population is foreign born, with 92% originating from Latin America. In 2008, Blue Island’s median household income was $43,844 with 9.3% of families and 12.6% of individuals living below the federal poverty level. The city has an unemployment rate of 15.7%.
Policy, System and Environmental (PSE) Changes
The City of Blue Island is utilizing funding from the Model Communities program to promote healthy eating and active living via completion of the following PSEs:
- Development of a community wide public health coalition;
- Adoption of an Active Transportation Plan to connect priority destinations in the community and create a network of walking, biking and transit routes;
- Adoption of a Complete Streets ordinance;
- Completion of a food system assessment and creation of a food system steering committee to look at ways to expand access to healthy food;
- Expansion of an existing community garden and creation of a new community garden;
- Adoption of a breastfeeding-friendly worksite policy for City employees and provide assistance to other area employers to create their own policies
In addition, the City is supporting MetroSouth Medical Center in implementing 5 of the 10 Baby Friendly Steps per the WHO Baby Friendly USA designation.
Highlights and Successes
- Blue Island passed a strong Complete Streets ordinance in the Fall of 2011.
- Blue Island expanded an existing community garden, as well as broke ground on a new one.
- An Active Transportation Plan has been finalized and is expected to be adopted in Spring 2012.
- Blue Island adopted an employee lactation support policy for City Hall and the MetroSouth Medical Center in Fall 2011.
- MetroSouth Medical Center drafted and adopted a new policy on skin-to-skin practice for new moms and babies in November 2011.
Sustainability of PSE changes
- The coalition will continue to work on public health issues in Blue Island beyond the Model Communities grant period.
- The City and Tommy Brown Recreation Association received a site plan for the garden to guide its development over the next few years.
City of Blue Island
13051 Greenwood Ave., Blue Island, IL 60406
Contact: Jodi Prout - Director
Gita Rampersad - Manager
Technical Assistance Partner: Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthConnect One, Active Transportation Alliance, Delta Institute