Friends of Cedar Lake get surprise $25,000 grant from 100+ Men Who Care and 100+ Women Who Care

USGS also has money for lake sediment testing

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Friends of Cedar Lake have gotten some new financial backing.

The local groups, 100+ Men Who Care and 100+ Women Who Care, have picked the Friends of Cedar Lake organization as their latest grant recipient.

The two 100+ groups, the members of which each donates $100 every three months to a worthy project, expect the latest round of donations to equal about $25,000, said David Sorg, a principal at OPN Architects and a member of the 100+ Men’s group.

Sorg said the grant will allow the Friends of Cedar Lake to complete a master plan for its proposal to redevelop the 115-acre industrial lake next to downtown.

“We love the fact that we are able to raise amounts like $25,000 in an hour and the money stays 100 percent local,” Sorg said.

Felicia Wyrick of the Friends of Cedar Lake said she was “completely blown away” by the contribution.

“Although the money is a huge boost to our efforts, we can’t put a price on the overwhelming support show by this group of community activists,” Wyrick said.

The Friends group has been working for a couple years to garner support in the community for the redevelopment of Cedar Lake and to obtain the backing of city and county elected officials and Alliant Energy, which owns the lake.

The four entities, the city, county, Alliant and the Friends, now meet formally every three weeks as the Cedar Lake Steering Committee under memorandum of understanding agreement among the parties.

In another piece of good news for the Friends, the U.S. Geological Survey in Iowa City had told the Steering Committee that it has $45,000 available to conduct an analysis of the sediment at the bottom of the lake. The funding is contingent on the entities that comprise the committee contributing about $42,000 in matching funds.

Dale Todd of the Friends said his group would like to see the sediment analysis completed soon.

The Friends’ plan for the lake has called for dredging, but it is unclear what toxins, particularly PCBs, chlordane and mercury, might be in the sediment.

The lake had been on the state’s impaired water list for some years, but earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources removed it from the list after successive favorable water quality tests. But the DNR did not address the sediment.

“The sediment test will help us create a realistic vision of what we want to do with the lake,” Todd said. “Without this data, everybody’s basically spinning their wheels.”

The Friends will hold a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Shores Event Center, 700 16th St. NE, to get another round of public input as the group completes its master plan.

The city also is planning its own open houses this fall on the lake project.

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