Task force eyes Cleveland Park for new Cedar Rapids recreation center

Proximity to other neighborhoods makes site appealing, task force members say

Cleveland Park, as seen in May 2010. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cleveland Park, as seen in May 2010. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The Cedar Rapids task force that has been trying for a year to find a new home for the flood-ruined-and-now-demolished Time Check Recreation Center thinks it has the answer ó the west-side Cleveland Park

City Council member Ann Poe, who is co-chairwoman of the site selection task force, said the task force on Thursday agreed to focus all of its attention on what is a new site option for the replacement rec center, the 8.6-acre Cleveland Park at 1600 Eighth Ave. SW off First Avenue West.

Poe said the task force is "pretty excited" about the prospects for Cleveland Park because it sits away from the river and any flood risk, is in proximity to Cleveland, Harrison and Taylor elementary schools and Roosevelt Middle School, and is big enough to provide green space around a rec center for outdoor recreational use.

"I think it could be," Poe said when asked if this could be the place where the hard-to-place recreation center ends up.

She said the city staff members in the Parks and Recreation Department will be contacting neighbors around the park to talk to them about the prospects of a rec building in their neighborhood. The task force will convene a neighborhood meeting in the weeks ahead as well, Poe said.

Construction could start this spring on the center if the neighbors donít object to the idea and if the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is providing disaster funds for the $3-million-plus project, approves the site, Poe said.

The site selection committee had settled on the idea of building the replacement task force next to the spot in Time Check Park in the 100-year flood plain, where the previous center had been destroyed. However, FEMA late last year stepped in and said they would not provide funds for construction in the 100-year flood plain.Poe said the site selection group on Thursday rejected possible rec center sites in the Kingston area across the Cedar River from downtown, next to Harrison Elementary School and on the site of the cityís maintenance building at Ellis Park.

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