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Have ideas for recreation on the Cedar River? Cedar Rapids wants your input

The view of downtown Cedar Rapids as seen in April 2018 from a scenic overlook atop the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid W
The view of downtown Cedar Rapids as seen in April 2018 from a scenic overlook atop the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency’s capped landfill, aka Mount Trashmore, at 2250 A St. SW in Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Have ideas for recreational opportunities on the Cedar River? A new survey wants your input.

Cedar Rapids officials are looking for options that are “safe, feasible, and would be compatible with the city’s Flood Control System” as part of a study called Explore River Recreation. Initial considerations are ways to expand powerboating above the 5-in-1 Dam, kayaking opportunities, fishing, a possible whitewater course, and the costs and impacts of removing the 5-in-1 Dam and the roller dam downstream of downtown.

“One of the things we liked about Crane Associates is they focus on finding something that is going to work well for the community instead of just looking at — ‘this is a cool recreation opportunity and let’s put this in Cedar Rapids,’” said Sylvia Brueckert, a city planner working on the project. “They are looking at what people here would be interested in and getting the local buy-in.”

The city awarded a $149,721 contract to Crane Associates, of Burlington, Vt., to lead the study, which kicked off in October 2019 and is expected to be completed by September. River Restoration, of Carbondale, Colo., and Anderson Bogert, a civil engineering and surveying firm in Cedar Rapids, also are involved in the analysis.

The next step is a new online survey targeting the public locally to provide input on current river uses as well as desired qualities and options of the river, neighboring parks and trails. The survey is available at SurveyMonkey.com/r/CedarRiver. The survey, which is said to take four minutes to complete, will remain open until Feb. 14.

Another study is expected to target recreation enthusiasts across the state, which would be factored into an economic impact portion of the study, Brueckert said.

The goal with the study is to help city staff prioritize potential improvements that increase water recreation, and builds upon interest and feedback outlined in the Cedar Rapids greenways plan, according to the city.

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Included in the study will be the stretch of Cedar River through Cedar Rapids, including both the 5-in-1 Dam and the low head dam south of Prairie Park Fishery, upstream and downstream river recreation, a technical analysis of hydrology, dams and other river conditions, and an economic impact analysis of river recreation amenities.

In central Iowa, community leaders have been discussing a $117 million recreation plan for rivers in downtown Des Moines, which include the creation of a network of 80 water trails across central Iowa, according to Des Moines Register reporting.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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