Downtown Vision Plan Propels Forward with Transformative Projects

Aug 29, 2018

A bigger, brighter future is on the horizon for Downtown Cedar Rapids and surrounding neighborhoods. First commissioned in 2007, the Downtown Cedar Rapids Vision Plan was developed to mold a clear, unified vision for downtown. A decade later, the 2017 update to the Vision Plan acknowledges the great strides and progress achieved. This third ideation of the Vision Plan notes that Downtown Cedar Rapids is at a turning point. What’s to come will set us apart from other downtowns across the county. Connect CR - a new public and private partnership - and new facade and bridge lighting installations are a few initiatives working towards fulfilling the Vision Plan.

Connect CR brings together two projects that hold remarkable potential for the downtown area – the revitalization of Cedar Lake into a unique, urban lake for recreation and the construction of the pedestrian/trail bridge between New Bohemia and Czech Village, dubbed the “Sleeping Giant” (pictured left).

By energizing Cedar Lake as a connector to downtown, embracing the river as a connector to create a more cohesive downtown and creating continuity at the Cedar River Trail, Connect CR aligns directly with the Vision Plan. Additionally, the economic impact of Connect CR is estimated at just under $18M and job creation is estimated at 370. Downtown Executive Director, Jesse Thoeming, serves on the Connect CR Steering Committee.

Lighting presents another opportunity for collective effort to create eye-catching results that differentiate Downtown Cedar Rapids. A new facade illumination and an update to current street lighting are two much-anticipated downtown additions.

Around the Fourth of July, Alliant Energy gave us a sneak peek on how they will start to light their building, the tallest in Downtown Cedar Rapids. Lights of red, white and blue illuminated the building, drawing attention from pedestrians and drivers on I-380. Alliant Energy will begin continual lighting in early fall.

In the coming months, look for another lighting enhancement along the Third Avenue bridge with the installation of nine brand new light fixtures. The bridge’s current light poles will be replaced with poles that are topped with a round globe-like light bulbs housing LED lights that will be programmed to change colors and patterns.

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