UPDATED: Cities selected this morning as receiving a Blue Zone designation are Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Mason City and Spencer.
EARLIER STORY: Davenport officials aren’t in the dumps over not being “blue.”
They learned Davenport isn’t one of four cities in Iowa to be named today as a Blue Zone. The cities that were selected will be announced at a news conference this morning in Des Moines. Davenport was among 11 finalists, including Clinton and Muscatine.
The plan for Davenport is to keep moving forward, said Alderman Jason Gordon, at-large, who helped lead the city’s effort to be named a Blue Zone.
“We will put our heads together and see what is next,” he said. “We may hear about being in the second round.”
Ten cities across the state will be selected in the two-round process. Blue Zone designation would mean the people who live and work in Davenport would enjoy several health benefits. Expert resources would be made available for the city to reach wellness goals, and health costs could drop as a result, helping the economy.
Mayor Bill Gluba said he is disappointed but not deterred.
“We would’ve liked to be selected, but we will still promote healthy living and healthy lifestyles,” he said. “In a next round, we might be selected.”
Officials haven’t received an explanation as to why Davenport wasn’t selected. A meeting is scheduled for Monday with Blue Zones representatives to discuss what the city can do next. One option that already has been explored is a self-directed process, said Theresa Hauman, senior recreation manager for the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department.
“We are staying steadfast in these health initiatives,” she said. “They are beneficial to the community.”
Hauman points out that Davenport’s efforts have gone beyond the city’s boundaries as other social service agencies have promoted healthy lifestyles throughout the Quad-Cities.
“We are trying to make this a Quad-Cities initiative,” she said. “We are a community that is doing a lot of this stuff.”
She said things such as distance maps on walking and biking trails, efforts to develop more trails and a school wellness policy to improve nutritional guidance are already in place in Davenport and are promoted by the Blue Zones committee.