Awards and Designations

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mosaic depicting Marion scene



Marion is proud to be the best place in Iowa to raise a family and grow a business. Here we reach higher and achieve more. In business and in life.

Did you know?

  • Marion landed in the top 10 percent of Best Small Cities in America according to WalletHub in the fall of 2017 and 2018, and in the top 12 percent in 2019. WalletHub’s analysts compared more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 40 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs to school-system quality to restaurants per capita. Marion secured the number two spot among all 1,200 communities for lowest housing costs.

  • Marion was proud to receive the All-Star Community Award in both 2017 and 2018 from the Iowa League of Cities. Marion was among three of Iowa's 945 cities to garner such recognition. In 2017, the Klopfenstein Amphitheater for the Performing Arts at Lowe Park was recognized. In 2018, the community won the award for the Uptown Artway placemaking project.

  • In July 2018, an effort let by the Marion Chamber of Commerce resulted in our community being re-designated as one of Iowa’s Great Places. The program celebrates communities with a bold vision for the future and supports the development of new and existing infrastructure. Marion will be able to apply for funding for projects tied to the community's vision plan, established as part of the ImagiNEXT visioning process.

  • In June 2018, Marion was one of 20 cities to be honored at the 2018 City Livability Awards Program during the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 86th Annual Meeting in Boston. The award recognizes programs that improve the quality of life in America's cities. Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly accepted the award for the Uptown Artway placemaking project.

  • For the 19th year in a row, Marion was recognized as one of the safest cities in Iowa for cities with over 20,000 in population.

  • In April 2019, the National Arbor Day Foundation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau awarded Marion the Tree City USA Growth Award. Marion has achieved Tree City USA status every year since 1993.

  • In November 2016, Marion was presented with a Healthy HometownSM powered by Wellmark Award by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. The award recognizes Marion for its dedication and accomplishments toward meaningful health improvement initiatives.
  • In October 2016, WalletHub ranked Marion in the top 7 percent of Best Small Cities in America. WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 cities across five key dimensions: affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety. They selected cities with population sizes between 25,000 and 100,000.
  • In August 2016, Marion landed 28th on NerdWallet’s list of best small cities in the U.S. for families. NerdWallet analyzed 245 cities in the U.S. with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. Income and affordability, prosperity and growth, and family friendliness were taken into account.
  • In January 2016, Marion placed 7th in Iowa in a recent study by financial technology company SmartAsset, which ranked the healthiest housing markets in the US. The study measured cities by the average number of years residents spend on homes, home values, ease of sale, and the costs associated with ownership.
  • In late 2015, Marion landed on the list of Top 10 Most Livable Cities for Adults 50+ according to AARP's Livability Index.
  • In October 2015, Marion was named the 20th Best Small City in America by WalletHub. To identify the small cities where Americans can enjoy good quality of life and affordable living costs, WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 U.S. cities with a population between 25,000 and 100,000, ranking key metrics ranging from housing costs to school-system quality to the number of restaurants per capita.
  • In September 2015, Marion became the first community in the Corridor to be Blue Zones certified. Over the course of 18 months, community volunteers developed and implemented a blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that adapt people to healthier behaviors.
  • Marion received the 2015 Large City Healthy Iowa Award from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Healthiest State Initiative in June. The Healthy Iowa Awards Program recognizes the outstanding achievements of cities, schools, businesses, individuals, colleges and universities leading Iowa's charge in advancing well-being.
  • In January 2013, through efforts championed by the Marion Chamber of Commerce, Marion was selected to be a Blue Zones Demonstration Site, providing assistance from experts to develop and implement a blueprint for transitioning people to healthier behaviors.
  • In January 2013, Marion was selected the 49th Main Street Iowa Community in the state. The local organization is known as Uptown Marion and is a division of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. It focuses on historic preservation with high economic impact in the Uptown district.

  • In 2010, Marion was recognized as a Preserve America Community for protecting and celebrating its heritage and using its historic assets for economic development and community revitalization.

  • In 2009, efforts of the Marion Chamber of Commerce resulted in our community being designated one of Iowa’s Great Places. The program provided state resources over a three year period to invigorate and invest in the infrastructure and cultural amenities of select Iowa communities. Marion’s projects included the Lowe Park Greenhouse, Lindale Trail, Thomas Park Maintenance Facility, and the Klopfenstein Amphitheater for the Performing Arts.