City of Osceola's Healthy Places for Healthy People plan - a model for rural and suburban small & medium-sizes Missouri communities - City of Osceola

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Osceola is located in a very beautiful, natural resource-rich part of the country, with the potential to tap into those resources for economic and health benefits for residents and visitors alike. Truman Lake and riverfront access have made Osceola a well-known hunting and fishing destination, and there are tremendous opportunities to build on those strengths for additional recreation-based opportunities including kayaking, walking, and other activities. With its small-town atmosphere, quality of life, and natural amenities, Osceola is well-situated to retain and attract residents and tourists, and to improve health and economic opportunities for all.

In 2017, the West Central Missouri Community Action Agency requested assistance on behalf of Osceola, Missouri through the Healthy Places for Healthy People program to develop an action plan for creating a more walkable, healthy, economically vibrant community and for protecting the environment and human health by engaging with community health partners.

The goals of the Healthy Places for Healthy People program are to:
• Use health as an economic driver for the local economy;
• Revitalize downtowns through economic development by leveraging health partners and assets;
• Help provide primary care and preventive services for those without access;
• Promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles;
• Create physical activity programs;
• Support local entrepreneurs; and
• Foster collaboration between workforce development and economic development to renovate and repurpose abandoned sites into new health center sites. . . .

To identify strategies and actions to make Osceola, Missouri a walkable, healthy, economically vibrant community, helping partners work together to build on existing health assets, to improve economic opportunity, and to enhance the ability of all residents to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
The remainder of this report and appendices document the engagement process, the activities of the two-day Healthy Places for Healthy People workshop in Osceola, Missouri, and most importantly, the action plan and next steps for achieving the community’s goals. Over the course of three planning calls and workshop discussions, the community’s goals evolved from those in the initial request for planning assistance to the four shown below. They reflect the holistic, collaborative approach to economic and community development already underway in Osceola, Missouri.

Action Plan Goals

1. Walkability: Make Osceola a place where it is easy to grow up and grow old, by improving sidewalks and trails in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods for the benefit of all, including those on foot, wheelchair, and bike.

2. Tourism: Build on tourism opportunities by tying downtown Osceola into existing and future trails and other recreational assets in the region.

3. Housing and Child Care: Increase availability for safe and affordable housing and child care so all residents have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

4. Connectivity: Develop a plan to improve high speed internet access in Osceola to improve economic opportunity for businesses and to increase access to education, healthcare, and other essential services for residents.

MoBikeFed comment: You can read the full Healthy Places for Healthy People plan at:

Or you can read the Executive Summary here:

Visit the City of Osceola's Economic Development page here:

And not coincidentally: Local citizens and advocates have recently worked out beautiful bicycle routes to connect Osceola to the main trunk of the Butterfield Stage Experience bicycle route.

Visit the Butterfield Stage Experience bicycle route main page here:

Regional Options and Connections to the Butterfield here:

Bolivar-Osceola route (about 50/50 gravel/paved) here:

Check them out!