116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The city of Cedar Rapids will seek $27 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by the state for a project to transform the greenway along the Cedar River and boost outdoor recreational amenities.
The City Council on Friday approved a resolution authorizing support for a grant application to the Destination Iowa program, an investment in “transformational, shovel-ready attractions” that Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last month using $100 million in COVID-19 stimulus money.
Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell said this project would allow the city to showcase the Cedar River in new ways and support amenities on both the east and west sides of it.
“We’re really leaning into what we have to offer here on the river and our trails, national attractions we have here — the (National) Czech and Slovak Museum,” O’Donnell said. “It’s an opportunity to turn the river into a real attraction.”
According to council documents, the “Greenway Recreation and Revitalization” project encompasses the plans and concepts of the Greenway Plan, which was intended to help neighborhoods most impacted by the 2008 flood; the Czech Village/New Bohemia Area Action Plan; and the ConnectCR initiative to transform Cedar Lake, as well as build a pedestrian-bike bridge spanning the Cedar River and connecting Czech Village and NewBo.
More project details are forthcoming pending submission of the application to the state.
The council in February identified enhancing the greenway as a top priority while continuing work on the $750 million permanent flood control system.
With an uptick of development in the Northwest and Time Check neighborhoods, and ARPA funds accelerating the timeline of key flood control segments in the northwest quadrant, city officials have said this is the prime time to invest in the greenway.
City Manager Jeff Pomeranz previously said the city would issue a request for proposals seeking consulting assistance to guide greenway planning.
At the council’s February goal-setting meeting, council member Tyler Olson, chair of the council’s flood control system committee, and O’Donnell agreed that this priority could be something the private sector rallies behind with financial support if needed.
This project “aligns very well with this council's clearly defined goal to create an amenity in the greenway for everyone, not just here but beyond, too,” O’Donnell said.
Applicants must show they have secured at least 60 percent of project funding when they apply. The city already has committed funding for major infrastructure projects encompassed in this project. Private investment in aspects of the project such as ConnectCR also contribute to the match.
Cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations can apply for Destination Iowa grants from four funds: economically significant development, outdoor recreation, tourism attraction and creative place-making.
“Communities in all corners of the state are creating unique destinations that give visitors a reason to explore and residents a reason to stay,” Reynolds said in her announcement. “Destination Iowa will help more communities across the state move forward in their efforts to boost tourism and economic growth while enhancing the quality of life for Iowans.”
The Iowa Economic Development Authority will accept applications starting Monday.
O’Donnell said state officials, including Reynolds, “are expecting a big idea from us, and I'm proud to say we will be able to deliver a big idea.”
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