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February 16, 2018

DES MOINES, IA – Three Iowa communities, Cedar Rapids, Mason City and Sioux City, were each presented with a 2018 Healthy Hometown Community Award during the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative awards ceremony held on Feb. 15, 2018. The award is in recognition for their accomplishments in health improvement initiatives within their respective communities.

These cities have earned the title of 2018 Healthy Cedar Rapids, 2018 Healthy Mason City and 2018 Healthy Sioux City. Each will receive $5,000 to continue the important work of improving the physical, social and emotional well-being of their communities.

Some noteworthy achievements in these communities include:

  • Cedar Rapids
    • Farmers’ Market
      • Began accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Payments in 2017. In the first year, $1,300 in SNAP transactions were completed.
      • Established a free shuttle to the Farmers’ Market for those who live in an area considered a “food desert.” More than 40 people took advantage of the service in its first year.
      • Throughout the Farmers’ Market season, a total of 3,738 pounds of fresh produce was donated to a food-rescue program. This equates to 3,115 meals.
  • Mason City
    • Installed bike racks and two bike repair stations to encourage active commuting. Walking/biking safety instruction was provided for students. 400 third grade students learned about bicycle safety and had 30–50 bikes register for the bike rodeo.
    • Recently established a bike share program, where three new bike racks and added 12 sponsored bikes were installed. One of those bikes was showcased last month at the Iowa Bike Summit and Expo.
  • Sioux City
    • Created and sustained a school-based garden and integrated garden curriculum at three schools and several day cares. Six worksites also provided space on-site for growing food.
    • Completed two safe-routes to school plans and started six trail-expansion projects.
    • Expanded smoke-free policies for multi-housing units, organizations and Food Truck Fridays.

The Healthy Hometown community award celebrates the successes achieved by Cedar Rapids, Mason City and Sioux City. The work these three communities have done is making Iowa a healthier, more active place to live. To find out more information about the program, visit Wellmark.com/HealthyHometown.