Iowa City receives Active Aging Award - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City receives Active Aging Award

Iowa City (KWWL) - The City of Iowa City has been named the recipient of yet another prestigious national award -- this time, a 2008 "Commitment Award" from the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Award program. The awards, which are overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Aging Initiative, recognize communities that are combining strategies for smart urban growth and active aging. With its Commitment Award, the EPA commended Iowa City for its efforts to integrate these two community dynamics so that older residents can pursue an interesting, active, and quality life -- much of it within walking distance of their home.

The EPA credited the City and its work with the Johnson County Livable Community for Successful Aging Policy Board to determine the needs of the City's older adults and what the City could do to encourage and facilitate ongoing physical activity. In its award announcement, the agency recognized the City's Urban Planning Division for implementing a variety of policies to improve the City's walking environment and make walking a more viable choice for seniors and other members of the community. Specifically mentioned were the recent revisions to the City's zoning code, which encourages commercial zones throughout the City that combine housing, shops, parkland, and services to make walking a viable choice for conducting daily errands; a new subdivision code that requires better street connectivity that will shorten distances residents need to travel to work, school, and other destinations; and the adoption of a "complete streets policy," which requires that all new streets be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as cars.

The Iowa City / Johnson County Senior Center was also recognized for the opportunities it provides senior citizens to pursue and maintain an active lifestyle, including dance, yoga, tai chi, and even a drill team. Credit was also given to the Johnson County Council of Governments for its work to expand the local trail system, thereby promoting a variety of outdoor exercise, including walking, hiking, bicycling, and cross-country skiing.

Only four communities nationwide were selected for the awards program, which was implemented in 2007. Other communities that received this year's Commitment Awards were Casper, Wyoming and Satellite Beach, Florida. The Portland, Oregon Parks & Recreation and Bureau of Transportation received the 2008 Achievement Award.

Karen Howard, Associate Planner for the City of Iowa City, accepted the award on behalf of the City at a ceremony held January 23 at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The award will be presented to the City Council at its February 10th meeting.

For more information, visit <> or contact Robert Miklo, Senior Planner for the City of Iowa City, at 319.356.5240 or


Online Producer: Maria Magner

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