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February 07, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Three Iowa communities — Manning, Waverly and West Union — were each presented with a 2020 Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award during the third annual Iowa Healthiest State Initiative awards ceremony held on Feb. 6, 2020. The award recognizes their health improvement accomplishments within their respective communities.

These cities have earned the title of 2020 Healthy Manning, 2020 Healthy Waverly and 2020 Healthy West Union. 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:

  • Manning
    • Installed a trail underpass under Highway 141, allowing trail users to access the trail safely without crossing a busy highway. In addition to the underpass, Manning built trail connections to join trails on both the north and south sides of Highway 141.
    • Installed seven water bottle filling stations throughout the community. Three stations are in the city's parks and along a trail. Two stations have been installed at a childcare center, one at a pre-school and one more at the high school. In addition to the water bottle filling stations, 144 water bottles were delivered to the city's day care centers to encourage more water consumption.
    • Installed rapid-flashing pedestrian crossing lights at Highway 141 and Center Street, a crossing primarily used by children going to the Rec Center.
  • Waverly
    • Implemented traffic calming measures by reconfiguring Bremer Ave/Highway 3 from four lanes to three and added bumpouts at various intersections.
    • Community Sharing Gardens added three new raised garden beds and added 10 apple trees to the community orchard. This brings the total of raised garden beds to 63 and fruit trees to 62. In a separate community garden on the south end of town, an additional eight raised garden beds were built. Last year, the Community Sharing Gardens grew more than 8,400 pounds of produce and donated it to local churches, social service groups and the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
    • Adopted a tobacco- and nicotine-free policy covering the 21 parks in Waverly and seven miles of trail system, which connects to surrounding communities.
  • West Union
    • Painted all crosswalks continental-style, installed a walk/bike lane on Lincoln Way, and installed more than 1,400 feet of new sidewalk throughout the community.
    • Launched a mobile teaching kitchen through Gunderson Palmer Community Health, partnering with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach for curriculum, benefiting 425 people in the first year.
    • Transformed vacant space outside Gunderson Palmer Lutheran Hospital into an outdoor lobby. The lobby consists of two pergola benches, a flower bed and gardening pots which grew herbs and produce.

Healthy Hometown Powered by Wellmark congratulates Manning, Waverly and West Union on their success. 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