116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In 2010, I became Pastor of St. Patrick Church in Cedar Rapids. Our parish restored the landmark church complex, devastated by the flood of 2008. We worked and prayed hard and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. When I left the parish in 2021, I was excited: The Sixth Street Extension Project was going to bring the Time Check neighborhood new life.
Last month, the City Council rubber-stamped this project, which, as it now stands, will congest and complicate traffic flow and restrict access to and from businesses, homes, and the church.
Extending Sixth Street to connect with Ellis Boulevard is a great idea; however, it should not have to involve a hard median that restricts access to St. Pat’s. The traffic department initially claimed its design addressed the dangerous intersection at First Avenue and Fifth Street NW. When this was shown to be one of the safest intersections in the neighborhood, the City Council sidestepped the argument and ignored other objections from those most affected by this project.
Our country was founded upon the democratic principle of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The City Council has disregarded petitions, concerns raised in conversations, and even outcry at public meetings. Whose agendas and interests are city council leaders serving if not those of the people who elected them? Let’s not give up on the hope of leaders who truly serve and protect the people they are supposed to represent.
FR. Ivan Nienhaus