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Government Notes: Cedar Rapids moves forward on planning for community center, sports complex
Also, Iowa City residents’ feedback leads to new bus stop
The Cedar Rapids City Council last week signed off on a $62,500 contract with Minneapolis-based CSL International for a feasibility study for an intergenerational community center and sports complex.
CSL was the lowest bidder of five proposals the city received and also scored the highest of all the proposals, according to council documents.
The contract spans Jan. 25 through July 31.
The city is studying the feasibility of a dual-use facility to expand recreational programming and offer another space where people of all ages can gather and recreate.
This planning effort is one of several action items that stems from the Age-Friendly Action Plan adopted last year to guide steps to help Cedar Rapids grapple with demographic shifts while making the community more livable.
The current Northwest Recreation Center houses several of the city of Cedar Rapids’ Parks and Recreation programs, but city officials have said it is essentially at capacity with the services it can offer.
While the facility offers some activities for seniors, some residents have said more services dedicated to older adults are needed after the loss of the Witwer Senior Center in the 2008 flood.
Community Development Director Jennifer Pratt said the study could help take stock of the existing private activities in the community, location and cost of such a facility — whether it’s newly built or redeveloped.
Johnson County to approve funds for essential home repairs
Two local organizations are expected to receive $300,000 in pandemic relief dollars from Johnson County to assist low-income homeowners with essential home repairs.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors this week is expected to approve American Rescue Plan Act funding for the housing rehabilitation and emergency home repair program. Supervisors heard about the recommendations during a work session last week.
“The goal really is helping folks age in place,” Lynette Jacoby, the county’s social services director, told the board. “Doing home modifications so they can remain at home and then doing important home repairs that maintain the health and safety of that home.”
Jacoby said another goal is to retain the county’s stock of affordable housing.
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity is expected to receive $105,000. East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECIGOG) is recommended to receive $195,000.
The two organizations will collaborate, Jacoby said. Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity will focus on smaller scale projects, home modifications, emergency repair and some rehabilitation.
ECICOG will focus on larger scale projects, such as replacing windows and siding, as well as assessing if homes need a full rehabilitation.
“The goal is really to maximize all of the resources that are available so they can have a comprehensive array of improvements done to their property,” Jacoby said.
To be eligible, households must make 50 percent less than the area median income. For a single person household, that is an annual income of $38,150.
Once the income threshold is met, priority will be given to rural residents, older adults, individuals with disabilities and households with young children
Iowa City residents are not eligible because the city has its own program, and this would duplicate efforts, Jacoby said.
The contract term is 17 months and is anticipated to begin Feb. 1 if approved. Funding renewal for fiscal years 2025 and 2026 will be contingent on availability of funds and successful completion of scope of services, according to the county. The board has $600,000 tentatively allocated for this priority.
Bus stop added in Iowa City on Iowa Avenue
Iowa City Transit is adding a bus stop at the University of Iowa’s English Philosophy Building on Iowa Avenue.
Service at this stop, which is added to the 10-West Iowa City route, will begin on Monday. The stop will be located at the same stop Cambus currently uses in the 200 Block of Iowa Avenue, just east of the Iowa Avenue bridge.
This stop was pulled from service in 2021 but is being reintroduced due to public feedback, the city said in a news release.
Alburnett schools superintendent search
The Alburnett Community School District is asking for community feedback in its search for a new superintendent.
The district is gathering data in a survey for community members and students. The survey is open through the end of the day Monday, Jan. 30 and can be found at tinyurl.com/AlburnettSuptSurvey.
Paper copies of the survey are available at the Alburnett District Office. Residents who prefer to complete the survey on paper are invited to stop at the office at 131 Roosevelt St., Alburnett.
The survey asks what qualifications district residents would like to see in the next superintendent and the district’s strengths and areas for improvement.
The district is accepting applications for its next leader until Feb. 19. The school board expects to hold formal interviews with finalists March 7.
Earlier this month, the school board selected Grundmeyer Leader Services to lead a superintendent search.
Superintendent Danielle Trimble is resigning, effective June 30, to start a new position as leader of the Ballard Community School District in Huxley. Trimble has led Alburnett schools for more than a decade.
Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area government bodies. Marissa Payne, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King of The Gazette contribute.