Guest Columnist

Overland: Great progress, but much remains to be done

Scott Overland is a candidate for Cedar Rapids City Council District 2.

Four years ago, I ran for Cedar Rapids City Council to accomplish three primary goals: Reinvest in older neighborhoods by establishing the Neighborhood Finance Corporation; protect our urban environment; and support investment in Cedar Rapids.

The following is a report to the citizens as to how I have done:

• Our neighborhoods are the strength of our city. We must keep our neighborhoods strong and vibrant in order to provide citizens safe, affordable housing options. My goal four years ago was to establish the Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC), a self-supporting nonprofit to help older neighborhoods repair and update their homes. I am happy to report that NFC just celebrated its one year anniversary. NFC is making a difference by incentivizing reinvestment in the core neighborhoods of Cedar Rapids and is already generating success stories like this:

Matt, age 26, realized his dream of homeownership by buying a modest foreclosed home on the southwest side. NFC made this possible by providing a repayable down payment loan, a primary mortgage and a $10,000 forgivable second mortgage for home repairs. In addition to bringing Matt’s home back into shape, the whole neighborhood is thankful for the reinvestment. NFC helps keep our neighborhoods strong and attractive for existing residents, young families, and new residents of Cedar Rapids.

• Cedar Rapids has a history with the changing forces of nature. The 2008 flood forced our community to deal with excessive and more frequent flooding. While flood protection construction is well underway, more must be done in the neighborhoods to deal with urban/flash flooding. I will continue to advocate for better stormwater practices to reduce the impact of urban/flash flooding on our neighborhoods.

• Investment in Cedar Rapids takes many forms, streets, sewers, water infrastructure, trails to name a few. One of the most important is Paving for Progress, the one cent sales tax funding the repair and replacement of city streets. With five construction seasons completed, covering over 50 miles so far, progress is being made. Year by year the program is slowly reducing the backlog of long overdue street projects. Paving for Progress is making a difference and will have my continued support.

As my report indicates, great progress has been made, but much remains to be done. Investing in our neighborhoods through homes, streets, and stormwater management will require our continued attention in the years ahead.

Scott Overland is a candidate for Cedar Rapids City Council District 2.

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