CEDAR RAPIDS — During a visit to Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said recent cuts to state recreation are the result of an extremely tight budget, but that shouldn’t interfere with people getting daily exercise.
The most recent state budget cut money for the state recreational trails from an average $3 million per year to $1 million and cut the state watertrail and lowhead dam mitigation program budget from $1 million a year to zero.
“It’s been a tough budget year and it impacts all areas,” Reynolds said. “There’s still tons of activities you can do.”
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has seen its budget slashed steadily from $22 million in fiscal 2009 to $11 million in fiscal 2018, the first Reynolds signed since taking office.
Reynolds was in Cedar Rapids with Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg to promote the Healthiest State Walk, which was going on all across the state on Wednesday. Reynolds and about 100 others started at either McGrath Amphitheatre, NewBo City Market or the Grant Wood Studio parking lot and participated in a 15-minute walk to Greene Square, less than a mile away.
Reynolds touted the importance of getting 30 minutes of exercise a day to promote good health, mental health and overall well-being.
“I’m challenging people to get your walk on,” she said.
Reynolds was visiting the hometown of Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, one of her key competitors in the 2018 Republican primary for governor. Corbett was out of town and did not attend the event.
Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz was among a few dozen city employees who participated in the event.
“Cedar Rapids is great supporter of wellness in our employees and our communities,” Pomeranz said. “We really appreciate the state’s leadership and based on the model the state has provided we have encouraged our own citizens, as well as employees of the city to be as healthy as possible.”
Debra, 65, and Kenneth Reed, 68, of Cedar Rapids, were among those who came out for the walk.
“I’m retired and I need some exercise,” Debra Reed said. “It’s great to come out and meet people.
Kevin, 59, and Tammy McKenna, 55, joined the walk from McGrath Amphitheatre to a gathering in Greene Square. They credited the various ways to get exercise in Cedar Rapids, noting bike trails and walking loops by the river, downtown and in New Bohemia District.
“We take advantage of everything there is,” Kevin said. Tammy added, “There’s so many options.”
Tammy McKenna credited Gov. Reynolds for meeting with people to push the initiative.
Iowa football legend Chuck Long also attended saying he wanted to raise awareness and encourage people to get active.
While Cedar Rapids has made strides in adding amenities to encourage physical activities, including bike lanes and recreational trails, a recent index ranked Cedar Rapidians as some of the least regular exercisers in the nation.
The Gallup Sharecare Well Being Index for the State of American Well-being found that only 45.6 percent of respondents in Cedar Rapids exercised at least 30 minutes, three days a week. Cedar Rapids ranked third from the bottom among 189 communities included in the survey.