Our region is renowned for its diverse communities, natural resources, and thriving cultural and recreational opportunities that are accessible, integrated, and enhance the area’s creative vitality.


Cultural connections foster a diverse and inclusive environment within communities. By supporting such initiatives, communities can celebrate and embrace the unique traditions, foods, customs, languages, and perspectives of diverse groups. This helps to create a sense of belonging and respect for all community members. When individuals from diverse backgrounds interact and engage with one another, it promotes understanding and empathy that can break down stereotypes, reduce prejudice, and build stronger relationships among community members.

Additionally, a robust cultural sector and recreational opportunities also significantly contribute to the economic growth and development of a community. Embracing and showcasing local cultural heritage and traditions can attract tourists, promote cultural tourism, and stimulate local businesses. Festivals, exhibitions, cultural performances, and other cultural events can become major attractions, bringing in visitors, generating revenue, and creating job opportunities. The region will also have the nation’s largest interconnected outdoor recreation system by 2040, showcasing the deep cultural and community ties enabled by responsible stewardship of shared spaces.

The activities under this Cornerstone also support other aspects of the greater Capital Crossroads Roadmap vision of providing lifelong learning opportunities for people of all ages. Projects under this umbrella will play a crucial role in preserving and safeguarding our region’s cultural heritage for future generations. Moreover, creating opportunities for bridge building has been linked to improvements in collective problem-solving, sense of belonging among community members, and overall resident well-being.Capital Crossroads serves as a promoter and facilitator of collaborative programs that celebrate all cultures. This compelling vision involves supporting the ongoing development of a wide array of multicultural events that enrich the lives of local residents and attract thousands of visitors. However, outcomes must extend far beyond our region’s existing high-profile weekend events to uplift, amplify, and celebrate budding cultural districts and emerging communities as well. Additionally, this Cornerstone includes ongoing efforts to create regional recreational infrastructure — actual crossroads and cornerstones that allow residents to explore the natural wonders all around us and conserve them for the future. While there has been great progress in building this infrastructure through the additions of bike and water trails, insights during the initial phase of this project indicate that we have not yet reached the stage where everyone feels welcome to take advantage of these opportunities.

Finally, we aim to solidify Iowa’s reputation as a global leader in food that connects people to culture and
heritage through culinary arts and farm-to-table connections, through initiatives like the Iowa Food System
Coalition. This coalition is building innovative, sustainable connections between farmers, partners, and the
community to improve local food access.


1. A welcoming region that celebrates our separate and shared cultures and identities across Central Iowa in a sustainable way.
2. A robust, inclusive, and sustainable cultural economy and recreational infrastructure that reflects the interests and needs of diverse community groups and elicits a feeling of belonging.
3. Recognition as a local food capital through access to nutritious and locally sourced and produced food.