Cedar Rapids – A Healthy Hometown
In January, 2013, the City of Cedar Rapids was named a Blue Zones Demonstration Site and began work to become a Blue Zones Community®. The goal was to encourage citizens of Cedar Rapids to take steps to live happier, healthier, longer lives. In March 2016, Cedar Rapids became the 15th certified Blue Zones Community in the nation. Blue Zones Project Cedar Rapids has inspired countless individuals to take steps toward a better quality of life and create a greater sense of well-being. The City’s contract with the Blue Zones Project ended in February 2018.
Joining forces with Healthy Hometown Powered by Wellmark enables the City to continue to focus on improving the quality of life for our residents and making it easier to get around within the community. The Healthy Hometown model centers on improvements in three key areas: eat well, move more, and feel better. Re-imagining city blocks, helping residents get around safely, and encouraging fresh food consumption are just a few things on Cedar Rapids' to-do list.
Current projects include:
- Community Gardens in City Parks Plan — A plan to expand community gardens to 7-10 additional City parks. Help shape the future of community gardens in Cedar Rapids by taking this short survey, which will be open through November 2022.
Some noteworthy achievements in Cedar Rapids include:
- Age-Friendly Action Plan — On September 13, 2022, the City Council unanimously approved adopting the Age-Friendly Action Plan. The Plan contains 20 goals and 47 action steps in eight livability domains that impact community well-being.
- Bike Share — In May 2019, the City of Cedar Rapids launched it's Bike Share Program. A bike share program allows residents to conveniently check-out and rent a bike or scooter for short trips, returning them to a designated parking station once they are done.
- Smoke Free Playground Ordinance — On December 18, 2018 the Cedar Rapids City Council voted to eliminate smoke within 30 feet of aquatic centers, swimming pools, splash pads, playgrounds, exercise stations, golf course clubhouses, enclosed shelters and park restrooms. Smoking is banned at Ushers Ferry Historic Village, Northwest Recreation Center, Riverside Skate Park, and Tuma and Tait Cummins Sports Complexes, except in privately owned vehicles. The public is asked to refrain from smoking within 30 feet of programs where kids participate in order to reduce their exposure to the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
- Walk Friendly Community — Cedar Rapids received a Bronze-level recognition for its momentum with current plans and programs, including the Pedestrian Master Plan, ADA efforts, Healthiest State Walk held annually, adoption of a new pedestrian-friendly zoning code, and numerous infrastructure improvements that are pedestrian and walk friendly.
- Complete Streets — Cedar Rapids was the first in the state to design streets for all users, not just cars. The policy makes it easy for everyone — including bicyclists, pedestrians, people of all ages and those living with disabilities — to safely cross streets, walk to shops and bike to work or school.
Healthiest State InitiativeThe Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that strives to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. For the past five years, the City of Cedar Rapids has actively worked on well-being initiatives. Cedar Rapids was chosen as a finalist for Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) award in the community category. The city was identified for advancing efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of Iowans. Cedar Rapids was also identified as home to some of the most active residents in the country, according to Fitbit’s year in review report. Using data collected from the more than 3.5 million active users, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Iowa City and Waterloo all ranked seventh on the top-10 list for most active cities.
Wellbeing Advisory Committee
Cedar Rapids' Healthy Hometown video