My hometown could learn from Muscatine

Great post by Kevin Jenison, Communications Manager for the City! Muscatine’s downtown has a lot going on and many more opportunities! More to come…

City of Muscatine

Riverfront Park - playgroundOver the weekend I had the opportunity to return to my hometown for a short visit with family and friends. It has been eight months since I moved to Muscatine, but it seems like years since I left the county seat (population 8,000) surrounded by farm land that I lived in for 55 years. The town does not sit on the banks of a river but it does have a medium size lake on which my dad taught me how to sail and how to fish and I taught my children the same and even taught them how to swim.

Muscatine is about three times the size of Paris (Illinois, not France), sits on a world famous river, and has endless possibilities for young and old alike. Realistically the two communities have little in common. Beyond that surface reality, however, is a commonality shared by the people – rich, middle-class…

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Green spaces IS the life for me

City of Muscatine

From 1965 through 1971, television viewers were treated to the antics of two city dwellers who moved to the country in the CBS-TV sitcom “Green Acres”. While the husband (Eddie Albert) longed for the rustic farm life, his sophisticated wife (Eva Gabor) longed to be back in the city and patiently waited for her husband to come to his senses.

I remember watching the show but never paid attention to a hidden message lodged deep within the comical scripts … the constant battle between the concrete jungle and green spaces.

green-acresThis “hidden” message was unique in retrospect as I realized that it was during this time period that the affordability of the automobile led to the ability to travel greater distances which ultimately aided in the creation of great gathering places called shopping malls.

In Paris, Illinois (population 8,500), we still had our small businesses (or mom and pop stores if you prefer) in…

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The many benefits of trees

City of Muscatine

In recognition of National Arbor Day (Friday, Apr. 28), Parks and Recreation Director Richard Klimes offered the following on the value of trees to the citizens of Muscatine.

Trees near Marina

The dictionary definition of a tree is very vague: “a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground.”

However, trees are much more than that.

The definition provides a physical description but trees are more than just a pretty thing to look at throughout the seasons. Trees provide many benefits from climate control, to health benefits, to renewing the environment around them.

Trees help combat climate change. Not only do they produce oxygen to clean and renew our air, trees cycle out carbon dioxide caused by pollution. With air quality and climate control being a persistent public health issue, trees are needed to improve air…

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Walkability over driveability

City of Muscatine

04-25-17 Green Space - Riverfront Park Green spaces like this one at Riverfront Park allow individuals to enjoy social interaction and nature along the banks of the Mississippi River. The wide sidewalks, sitting areas, play areas, and landscaping add to the walkable nature of the park. These and similar concepts will be used as the City of Muscatine continues its efforts to transform the downtown business district and other areas of the community into more pedestrian friendly gathering places.

It should not be a surprise to anyone that the City of Muscatine has, as one of their goals, the development of placemaking projects that will maintain local amenities for residents while also attracting and retaining a quality workforce. The placemaking philosophy, an idea that changes the emphasis of urban design from automobile traffic to pedestrian traffic, guides the public and private sectors of Muscatine in the development of plans for the riverfront, the downtown area, and…

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Placemaking in the city

City of Muscatine

Mississippi DriveAnyone who travels across the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge that carries traffic over the Mississippi River from Illinois Highway 92 to Iowa Highway 92 is treated to a spectacular view of the Muscatine riverfront just downstream from the bridge. There are few river towns that can claim to have such a wondrous entrance to their city yet Muscatine knows the best is yet to come.

Over 20 years ago you would not have had the same reaction to seeing the Muscatine riverfront from that bridge as you do today. An aging industrial center with a railroad switching yard and a declining downtown did little to inspire visitors to stop and stay for a while. That has changed through the efforts of the City of Muscatine along with many individuals and organizations who donated time, ideas, and in some cases money, to the vision of transformation.

The vision of transforming what was once a decaying industrial area into a welcoming public…

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How Has Blue Zones Project® Changed Muscatine?

City of Muscatine

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Just over three years ago, residents of Muscatine gathered at Muscatine High School for a big kickoff celebration to mark the start of a community-wide initiative toward better health. Blue Zones Project® began to take our city by storm as we worked together toward well-being.

It has been amazing to see the transformation of our community. Since launching Blue Zones Project, we’ve seen a 17.5% increase in exercise levels, while stress levels have dropped by 13.6%!

In this post, we would like to give you a snapshot of some of the successes of the project and encourage you to read the full guide detailing the story of Muscatine Blue Zones Project and what it means for the future of our community.

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By the Numbers:

23,968 Lives impacted

40% People engaged

8,501 Individuals pledged to support well-being

23,595 Well-being actions taken by individuals

41% Believe Blue Zones Project has made a positive…

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Update on the City’s Award-winning Budget

City of Muscatine

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Last week’s post about the upcoming budget sessions describes the process that the City Council and staff undergo to create a budget to meet the needs of our community. This undertaking is no small feat!

Finance Director Nancy Lueck has been with the Finance Department since 1977 and has served as the Director since fall of 2005. Nancy and her team have efficient procedures for handling the budget each year.

Not only does Iowa Code require cities of our size to complete an annual audit, but the City of Muscatine also submits the budget to be reviewed by The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) each year.

The City of Muscatine has been awarded a GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 32 consecutive years. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an…

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