Penford submits sole proposal for Riverside Park

City Council to discuss issue at April 10 meeting

CEDAR RAPIDS — Penford Products Co. has no competitors in its bid to purchase neighboring Riverside Park for possible expansion.

Except perhaps the City Council’s willingness to sell the 11-acre property.

Penford was the only entity to submit a proposal to buy the park before an 11 a.m. Friday deadline. The city had sought proposals after Penford announced in December that it wanted to purchase the property next to its corn-milling plant on First Street SW.

The Penford proposal now will be reviewed by the city’s Community Development Department before the City Council takes it up at its April 10 meeting, officials said Friday.

At three public forums in January, Penford said it was looking to expand its bioproducts business and was looking for a company that might want to partner with it. Penford said it needed an area in which to expand before it could attract a partner.

The company said it envisioned a possible investment of $30 million to $100 million in an expansion, which could bring up to 50 additional industrial jobs to the 227 that Penford now has in Cedar Rapids.

Penford said it would pay to relocate a skate park, baseball diamond and playground to other park areas in the city.

Among those who have spoken out against Penford’s expansion hopes is the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, which sits on the other side of the 12th Avenue bridge from Riverside Park. The museum and library moved away from the river and to a higher site closer to the bridge and to Penford after the Flood of 2008.

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