Penford Products Co. offers $1.67 million for Riverside Park

Cedar Rapids City Council to discuss proposal on Tuesday

CEDAR RAPIDS — Penford Products Co. has offered to pay the city $1,669,716 for Riverside Park.

According to a memorandum to the City Council, the offer covers the appraised cost of the 11-acre park and adjacent right of way. Penford would repay grants the city has received for the park, and wants that money to fund the relocation of amenities such as a skate park, baseball diamond and playground.

The council will take Penford’s proposal up at its meeting Tuesday. The proposal was the only one submitted during a monthlong period in which other entities were given the chance to bid for the park.

The council could vote to direct the city manager to negotiate with Penford on the terms of a sale. Those terms would then come up for a vote in May. The council would then vote on a development agreement in June.

Penford first announced it wanted to buy the park, which is next to its corn wet-milling plant, in December. The company has said it hopes to attract a partner to help expand its bioproducts manufacturing operation.

The staff and board of directors at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, which sits on the other side of the 12th Avenue Bridge from Penford and Riverside Park, came out against Penford’s plans after a series of forums in January. They say expanded industrial operations would harm the museum experience.

In its written proposal to the city, Penford says Riverside Park would continue to operate as a park until the company identifies a “definitive” project. The company would construct an aesthetically appealing wall on the southern and western boundaries of the development site, retain as many existing trees as possible and locate new industrial buildings as far from property lines as possible.

In addition, the company says it would make a commitment to work with the city to incorporate plans for flood protection and a riverfront trail.

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