Historic building in Czech Village to house new flood exhibit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Historic building in Czech Village to house new flood exhibit

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - On Wednesday, the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library unveiled its first flood recovery project. It's also the first flood recovery project in the state to be funded by Governor Chet Culver's I-JOBS initiative.

Early next year, the historic Kosek building in Cedar Rapids' Czech Village will be restored, and home to a new exhibit of last year's record flood. It's the next chapter of the building's story for Paul Kosek, who has a rich history here.

"I'm kinda sorry to lose all the flower boxes and stuff that had been on the walls, but then it's going to keep the building in a good use," said Kosek.

Paul's father bought the property and opened Kosek's Diamond Dollar Store in 1946. "We sold housewares, and my mother liked to do crocheting and embroidery, so we sold a lot of artwork."

Paul took it over in 1963, selling out in 1980, when big-box stores gained popularity. "I could sometimes buy merchandise cheaper at K-Mart than I could buy them wholesale to sell at the store."

Now, the building will be home to an exhibit titled "Rising Above: The Story of a People and the Flood." Local leaders say it will chronicle the heritage of the Czech Village, and how important it is to rebuild this part of the city. Bonds for the $1.75 million project were sold last month, with funds provided by public and private donors, according to museum board chair Gary Rozek. 

"There will be an admission fee, a small admission fee, but it'll be a great exhibit. It'll be worth the money."

Kosek is eager for these doors to open again, with the phrase "vitame vas," welcoming people once more.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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