Government

Final College District plan open house on Thursday

(File photo) Mount Mercy University is shown in an aerial photograph in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
(File photo) Mount Mercy University is shown in an aerial photograph in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Residents will have a final opportunity to review an action plan for the College District, an area in the northeast quadrant anchored by Coe College and Mount Mercy University, during an open house Thursday.

City officials have been working with stakeholders to craft a framework that could influence policy and encourage the area to evolve in a preferred way when it comes to aesthetics, lighting, development styles and infrastructure changes to Coe Road/College Drive at the intersection with E Avenue NE.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to review the public feedback received to date, see recommended zoning changes in the College District and learn more about implementation on various improvements,” according to a news release.

“Zoning changes could help encourage additional development interest, provide a framework for neighborhood aesthetics, and encourage additional mixed-use opportunities.”

The third and final open house is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Thursday at Mount Mercy University’s Basile Hall, 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE. Parking is available off Prairie Drive NE. A campus map can be found here. Attendees can come and go at their convenience.

The plan could be approved by City Council this fall.

Officials have been working on the plan and assessing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the area, which includes the two college campuses, the Irish District and the Mound View neighborhood, since last spring.

The area is bounded by First Avenue, 20th Street, Mercy Drive, Elmhurst Drive, Oakland Road and Coe Road NE.

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During previous open houses, neighbors spoke of unkempt rental properties, crumbling sidewalks, poor lighting and litter from drug use as some of the biggest weaknesses, while identifying strengths such as college students, college sporting events, connection to the CEMAR trail and proximity to Cedar Lake.

Cedar Rapids has undertaken similar action plans for the Mount Vernon Road corridor and the Northwest Neighborhood area.

More information about the College District action plan is available at CityofCR.com/college district.

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

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