After more than a year of trying, Sioux City's dream of a Blue Zone designation has become a reality.
"Blue Zone Committee has recognized Sioux City as a Blue Zone Demonstration site," said Mayor Bob Scott, in a press conference Wednesday.
Over the next two to three years, experts will help the town develop and execute a blueprint of environmental, social, and policy changes that'll promote healthy living. Things like improved trail systems, or healthier food options. The goal is to give people healthier, and longer lives.
"It's something that is going to benefit everybody in Sioux City and surrounding areas. Everybody benefits from this," said Sioux City Environmental Service Analyst Derek Carmona.
Officials across the city are already coming down with the "blues," from St. Luke's Regional Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center...
"Both organizations obviously intend to have a healthier population to deal with. This is really a huge step in the right direction," said Mercy Medical Center Vice President Jim Wharton.
"This is an exciting day for Sioux City. This is something we have remained committed to," said Superintendent of Sioux City Schools Dr. Paul Gausman.
The city missed the cut last year in the first round of picks. They attribute the nod from the Blue Zones Committee in the second round to increased support from businesses, minorities, and more.
"They saw that every aspect of our community was committed to the overall well being of our individuals in our community, and our over all well being," said City Manager Paul Eckert.
Besides Sioux City, five other communities have been added to Iowa's Blue Zone list. Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Oskaloosa and Marion will join the 19 others participating.
The Blue Zones Project is the centerpiece of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad's goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.
If you want to know more about the Blue Zones Project, click here.