Coon Rapids, one of the original three designated Iowa Great Places in 2005, was notified by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs that its re-designation application as an Iowa Great Place was accepted in July 2018.
The Iowa Great Places program recognizes and partners with Iowans who cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of their local places – neighborhoods, districts or regions – and make them great places to live and work. As an Iowa Great Place, Coon Rapids will receive access to professional training, technical assistance, a network of vibrant communities and passionate leaders, and other state and local resources. In addition, Iowa Great Places can apply for funding for projects that are tied to their community's vision plan. Funding comes from an annual appropriation from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund to the Iowa Great Places program by the Iowa Legislature.
Coon Rapids has a rich history that represents the major historical trends in the state, first as a river town, then as a railroad town and retail center, and then as a hot spot for seed corn innovation. It is now evolving into a community that focuses on quality of life with an emphasis on natural resources and recreation. One of its greatest assets, the Whiterock Conservancy, is a 5,500 acre non-profit land trust that balances sustainable agriculture, natural resource protection and public recreation. Located along seven miles of the Middle Raccoon River valley, it is open to the public every day for recreation and exploration. Currently a 31-mile trail system is available for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian riders.