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Iowa Parks Foundation announces “Second Parks to People” Region in western IA


January 2nd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Golden Hills R-C and D in Oakland, say in 2016, a three county region of Harrison, Pottawattamie and Mills Counties, completed a community-led, comprehensive plan to address the future of the tri-county region’s parks, trails, and cultural assets to enhance overall economic and community vitality. Regional plan development was supported through the Iowa Parks Foundation and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Green Ribbon Commission, to “enhance, promote, sustain, and connect” the region’s cultural, natural and park assets.

The Iowa Parks Foundation was founded in 2008 by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and former Congressman Neal Smith. Iowa is preparing to celebrate its park system’s 2020 centennial. One of the primary goals of the initiative is to offer a premier parks system to help Iowa attract and retain young people who are interested in a vigorous lifestyle, which will help stimulate the state’s economy and help attract and retain businesses. The Parks to People initiative will leverage public and private resources by supporting regional projects identified in the plan.

The Loess Hills Missouri River Region Plan identifies five key focus areas: the Loess Arts and Nature Loop, Frontier Iowa Trails Network, the Loess Discovery Web, Ridges and Rivers: Explore, and WanderLoess.com, an online platform to promote attractions and recreational opportunities in the region. The focus areas support collaborative, regional projects to enhance:

• Economic development and tourism,

• Public health and social vitality,

• Natural resources (habitat, water) health, parks, and trails, and

• Overall regional vibrancy

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will speak about the Loess Hills Missouri River Region 2:30-p.m. Friday, January 19th, at the Iowa West Field House, 4 Arena Way, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. At that time, the first private investment by the MidAmerican Energy Foundation will also be announced.