City of Cedar Rapids Vision: “Cedar Rapids is a vibrant urban hometown – a beacon for people and businesses invested in building a greater community for the next generation.”
Early in 2008, “The Year of the River”, a competition of 5 design consultants was held to design a Riverwalk in Cedar Rapids. In May, Sasaki and Associates was chosen from this group, and $30 million in state funds was earmarked in the Community Attractions and Tourism program for riverfront redevelopment.
In June, the devastating flood caused the city to request Sasaki to change the scope of the Riverwalk project to a River Corridor Redevelopment plan which included flood mitigation options. From the proposals presented by Sasaki, the city has published a preferred method which uses a 7 mile system of 12-18’ tall flood walls and levees along the river.
This plan will cost an estimated $1 billion dollars, and affects 500 homes and businesses; additionally the plan does not protect a long list of historical buildings/landmarks and one entire neighborhood.
The city of Cedar Rapids has an opportunity to redefine itself and to embrace the river that is its namesake. River enhancing and sustainable measures that include, but are not limited to, urban canals and watershed management should be adequately researched.
We also request that the city re-bid a River Corridor Development Plan, asking for firms to compete with new ideas that incorporate the Cedar Rapids Vision in whole, connect the city to the river, and coordinate with neighboring “River Corridor” cities and towns for flood mitigation/river use.
We support and believe that assistance to flood victims, both short and long term, can continue in parallel to this process.