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February 18, 2022

DES MOINES, IA – Two Iowa communities — Dallas Center and Manning — along with the Iowa Great Lakes Region were each presented with a 2022 Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award during the Healthiest State Initiative Annual Awards virtual ceremony on Feb. 17, 2022. The award is recognition for their accomplishments in health improvement initiatives within their respective communities.

"We are pleased to present the 2022 Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award to these three finalists," said Laura Jackson, Wellmark's chief health officer. "The work that has been done to improve the health and wellness of our state is to be celebrated. And because this work is so important, Dallas Center, the Iowa Great Lakes Region and our multi-year awardee, Manning, will also each receive $5,000 to continue improving the physical, social and emotional well-being of the community."

Some noteworthy achievements in Dallas Center include:

  • Establishing the Pop-Up Produce initiative that provides weekly fruit and vegetable distribution in the community.
  • Creation of six school garden beds where local third-grade students planted and harvested produce.
  • A local grocer expanded the fresh produce section and added a new cooler.
  • Creation of an inclusive playground with a new parking lot and sidewalks to support the playground and link sports fields.

"It's an honor to be recognized as a Healthy Hometown Powered by Wellmark Community Award winner," said Cindy Reisselman with the city of Dallas Center. "Dallas Center will continue to search for effective ways to encourage citizens of all ages to eat healthier, move more and support each other."

Some noteworthy achievements in the Iowa Great Lakes Region include:

  • Adding 4.8 miles of paved trails and building a shelter house at the trail head with bike racks.
  • Multiple park improvements and additions including flower and tree plantings, shoreline cleanups, bike rack, light and bench installations; the creation of a pedestrian plaza, fountain and reflecting pool, and so much more.
  • Creating new parks with inclusive play structures
  • Development of a food rescue program that included drive-thru donations and a partnership with local food pantries.

"The Iowa Great Lakes Region is thrilled to be selected as a Healthy Hometown," said Katy Burke, director of population and public health. "From beautification initiatives and trails expansion to community gardens and hunger relief, we are grateful for the opportunity to highlight a wide variety of projects and the partners who help make our community a unique and supportive place to live."

Some noteworthy achievements in Manning include:

  • Completion of the Highway 141 Road Diet that included the planting of street trees throughout the community.
  • Development of a new swimming pool and splashpad, free for public use, in addition to building a new indoor space for children under the age of 5.
  • Implementation of nicotine-free policies in outdoor spaces such as city parks, sports fields, trails and river access points.

"The work that is happening across this state to make communities happier and healthier is inspiring," said Dawn Meyer with the city of Manning. "The Manning community never stops finding new, innovative ways to push the limits and keep striving to make our community even more vibrant and healthy. We are so fortunate to have so many people working together toward common goals."

The Healthy Hometown Powered by Wellmark Community Award celebrates the successes achieved by these two communities and the Iowa Great Lakes Region to make Iowa a healthier, more active place to live. To find out more information about this initiative, visit