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Muscatine was was recognized with a 2017 "Best Development" award from the 1,000 Friends of Iowa for the Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park trail project.

The city was among 12 recipients chosen because of their use of resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life. 1,000 Friends of Iowa is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on land use education. Though they have given this award for 16 years, it wasn't until this past year that they began offering a transportation category, which is where Muscatine was recognized. The category was added to "recognize that development isn’t always brick and motor buildings," said Julia McGuire, awards coordinator.

McGuire said transportation has long been a quality the award judges would examine, but the recently added category is a means for the 1000 Friends to solidify transportation as an important part of environmental design.

She said the trail extension between Kent Stein Park and Deep Lakes Park was chosen because "this was already a path that people used," McGuire said. "To decrease the environmental impact, it makes sense to pave it. Additionally, the jurors spoke about reducing the carbon footprint with this particular kind of transportation: walking and cycling."

1,000 Friends of Iowa Executive Director Keri Carney said the award is part of its positive approach to environmental activism.

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