Throw it into the mix.
The city’s Parks & Recreation Department has gotten the paperwork together and is now joining a crowd of local entities in the competition to try to pry loose some post-flood money from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The city department effort is focused on garnering a $5.75-million EDA grant for what project backers are now calling a “Multigenerational Community Life Center.”
The life center project is one of the 15 in the community’s four-year-old, Fifteen in 5 initiative — 15 projects in five years. It often has been referred to as part community center and part recreation center.
In a memo to the City Council, Julie Sina, the city’s parks and recreation director, says the $5.75 million will pay for planning and architectural and engineering fees, but not the cost of construction.
Sina says the new structure could be a new home for what now is the flood-damaged Witwer Senior Center building, the flood-damaged Time Check Recreation Center and the worn-out Ambroz Recreation Center and Bender Pool.
As a Fifteen in 5 project, the community center-recreation center has had an active, dedicated committee studying the concept and promoting it. However, the project got pushed a little to the side as the city and community has worked to deal with the aftermath of the June 2008 flood.
The prospect of a federal EDA grant now has brought the project to the forefront again.
Three weeks ago, the City Council was asked to prioritize which projects it thought were most deserving of limited EDA money.
The council settled on a ranking that placed projects in this order: downtown steam system, first; a public fiber-optic system, second; the community center-recreation center, third, tied with a steam system for Mercy Medical Center; a steam system for Coe College and St. Luke’s Hospital, fourth; improvements to the U.S. Cellular Center and the construction of a new convention center next door, fifth; and a Regional Commerce Center, downtown freight rail planning and parking system upgrades, tied for sixth.
At the time, one local community leader noted that the city of Coralville already had secured an $8-million EDA grant.
On Tuesday, Ellen Habel, assistant city administrator in Coralville, said the city had not yet been awarded an EDA grant. She did say, though, that the city submitted its $7.16-millon grant last fall, has had a site visit from EDA and is now awaiting a decision.
The Coralville project would elevate the rail corridor along Highway 6 and incorporate permanent and removable flood protection into it to protect against a flood one foot above the 2008 one, Habel explained.