Czech Village roundhouse still in limbo

City wants building pieces moved

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CEDAR RAPIDS – Efforts to reconstruct the Riverside Roundhouse have run into a snag.

The building, used for decades as a Cedar Rapids farmers market, was dismantled by volunteers after the Floods of 2008 so the land could be used for the relocated National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.

Alex Andersen, who is leading efforts to save the roundhouse, said the goal was to rebuild the structure on property next to Czech Village where homes were demolished after the flood. Parts of the building were moved nearby, on a site now owned by the city.

Czech Village merchants would like to use the building for festivals and other events.

Land that was promised by the city, however, hasn’t materialized, said Andersen, owner of Ernie's Avenue Tavern, 69 16th Ave. SW.

“I wouldn’t have taken it down if they hadn’t promised us the property,” he said, noting that city officials told him to move the pieces off of the city-owned land by the end of the year.

Joe O’Hern, the city’s executive administrator for development services, said the volunteers won’t be forced to have the parts off the property by Dec. 31, but they should at least have a plan by spring.

O’Hern said he was not working for the city when the land was promised and isn’t aware of any agreement.

The funds used to purchase the property have restrictions about rebuilding in the 100-year flood plain, he noted.

O’Hern said the land next to Czech Village will likely become green space.

The city is moving to designate some areas that were flooded, such as the Kingston and Ellis areas of southwest and northwest Cedar Rapids, as viable commercial corridors where redevelopment can take place, but O’Hern said those can’t be designated “wherever we want.”

“We’re not trying to rush this,” he said of the order to move the roundhouse pieces. “We just can’t let it sit there indefinitely.”

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