New Downtown Logo Re-establishes Strong Image

September 02, 2014

Cedar Rapids - A new logo for Downtown Cedar Rapids unveiled Tuesday is one more step in re-establishing a strong downtown image and sense of place.

Members of the Downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) spearheaded this effort to have a district logo created that reflects Downtown today and of the future – a 24/7 location where restaurants, business and housing create a vibrant center of Cedar Rapids.

The logo features a symbol with the city skyline and “CR Downtown.” In addition to the logo, a tagline: “Dine. Dwell. Do.” will be included on new street banners with images depicting each aspect, such as the McGrath Amphitheatre (“Do”) and Kingston Commons (“Dwell”).

Downtown SSMID Commission Chairman Randy Rings says creation of the logo and installing street banners serves as a first impression for residents and visitors.

“Creating a vital sense of place to those who have lived here for years, or for those making their first visit, is important to the overall image of Cedar Rapids,” he says.

But, Rings and the Downtown SSMID Commission know that a logo and banners are only part of the equation when it comes to the Downtown’s image.

“It’s important for people to see there is real growth and improvement happening downtown,” Rings says.

Downtown Cedar Rapids was devastated in the 2008 flood, but now, six years later, Downtown has come back, better than ever. Post-flood, several businesses chose to remain in their Downtown home, which created a base for today’s re-emergence.

Among the many public and private sector projects that have keyed Downtown’s comeback are the DoubleTree Hotel and U.S. Cellular Convention Center, the Third Street Signature Street Project and the new CRST International Inc. World Headquarters, a $37 million, 11-story, 113,000 square-foot office tower scheduled for completion in 2016.

At the time of the CRST announcement, John Smith, CRST board chairman, said, “CRST is extremely excited to join the downtown business community.”

Property values downtown are up sharply in the past year, as flood recovery projects have been completed, at least a half dozen new restaurants have opened and several new developments have come fully onto the property tax rolls. Values within the SSMID have increased 33.8 percent.

Downtown housing has long been discussed by the SSMID commission, City and is a focus of the Downtown Vision Plan. With the recent opening of Kingston Commons and the Downtown Tower Housing, Great Furniture Mart and Coventry Gardens projects underway, rental and owner-occupied Downtown housing capacity will see its first significant increase in many years.

The Downtown SSMID Commission has also been leading efforts to keep Downtown clean with the purchase of a new sidewalk sweeper and additional facilities personnel. The SSMID Commission is working with the City of Cedar Rapids to provide grants to building owners and businesses to refresh exterior building facades.

The façade program, originally created in 2006, did not get enacted due to the recovery efforts that had to take priority. The City Council will consider approval of the program at its meeting today.

For more information on Downtown including businesses and progress, visit www.downtowncr.org.

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