NATIONAL PARKS PRODUCE: Iowa has two of the nationís 401 sites, parks and monuments in the National Parks System: Herbert Hoover birthplace in West Branch and Effigy Mounds National Monument near McGregor. More than 207,000 people visited those places in 2012 and they spent $11.5 million. Thatís pretty impressive for a state that ranks 30th in population. The National Park Service estimates that every $1 invested in national parks returns $10 in economic impact on local economies.
ENGAGING ITS RIVER: Decorah has been named River Town of the Year by Iowa Rivers Revival, a statewide river advocacy group. The award recognizes river communities that reclaim their riverfronts to help boost recreation, economic development, and improved ecological practices and water quality. Decorah projects have included the opening of the Trout Run Trail, much of which runs near the Upper Iowa River, as well as an impressive park system with hiking and biking trails, and numerous river cleanup events. An extensive public-private collaboration in the community has been the driver.
lllNEWBO START: The Cedar Rapids NewBo City Marketís first year of operation looks like a solid success overall. Sales, predicted by market officials to hit $2.1 million, topped $2.5 million, and there were 230,000 visitors. Along with the 17 permanent vendors, there were 250 guest vendors.