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Archive for May 5th, 2008|Daily archive page

18 design firms pared to two for RiverWalk/riverfront project; city/county ready to compete for new state funds

In Brian Fagan, City Hall on May 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm

A City Hall task force overseeing planning for downtown riverfront revitalization and a RiverWalk has now pared a list of five design consulting firms to two, council member Brian Fagan noted Monday at a joint meeting of the Cedar Rapids City Council and Linn County Board of Supervisors.

The City Council will interview the two firms at a special meeting on Thursday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

The two firms are Close Landscape Architects, Minneapolis, and Sasaki Associates Inc., Watertown, Mass., Fagan noted.

Lu Barron on Monday said the plan is for the winning firm to return in a couple weeks to make a presentation about what is to come.

City funds approved for the budget year beginning July 1 will pay the $150,000 contract, Steve Hershner, the team leader of the RiverWalk task force, has noted.

Barron also noted that the city and county are positioning themselves to apply for state funds, including $42 million over four years in a newly created pool of money specially earmarked for Riverfront Enhancement  Community Attraction and Tourism or RECAT. Iowa lawmakers also have added $12 million a year for three years in the state’s longstanding Community Attraction and Tourism grant program or CAT.

CAT and RECAT  both are administered by the state Vision Iowa Board. There is no cap to the amount a community can receive in available RECAT funds.

In hiring a design consultant, the city’s Hershner has said that the city is looking for help in coming up with a new definition of the Cedar River through downtown with trails, riverfront park and other enhancements.

The first phase of the work, will, among other things, identify the best place for a RiverWalk, a small outdoor amphitheater, trail connections, a trail bridge across the Cedar River at the base of May’s Island and open space, Hershner has said.

According to the city’s proposal, the consultant also is expected to present a plan that can coordinate with a river feasibility study to be prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps’ study will involve both sides of the river from the Time Check Neighborhood to the city-owned Sinclair site.

The RiverWalk one day is intended to reach 7.5 miles in length on both sides of the river and reach to the city’s new urban fishery on the east side of the river. One idea is for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge from the popular Cedar River Trail to leap the river at the urban fishery downriver from the Sinclair site, Doug Neumann, president/CEO of the Downtown District, has said.