Professional football coming to Cedar Rapids convention complex - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Professional football coming to Cedar Rapids convention complex

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Professional football is coming to Cedar Rapids. 

That announcement was made Tuesday outside of the construction site of the highly anticipated convention complex.

The city of Cedar Rapids took a major step Tuesday in the rebuilding of its downtown after 2008's flood, breaking ground on a brand new $75 million convention center.

It's part of an overall $107 million project that will renovate the U.S. Cellular Center and the former Five Seasons' Hotel.

The atmosphere in Cedar Rapids, as construction began, was nothing short of festive.

"Cedar Rapids' best days are ahead, and it does take a time to celebrate, not only what we've been through, but our future," said Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett.

The complex will be the second largest such facility in the state of Iowa.  It's thought to be the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown.

"This is huge economic stimulus for our area, and more than that, it's just plain exciting," said Monica Vernon, Cedar Rapids city council member.

The Obama administration has recognized the value of the facility as well.  The United States Economic Development Administration is providing $35 million for the project, the largest such disaster grant ever awarded by the EDA.

"Cedar Rapids, which was the hardest hit community, really needed this type of investment to build a sustainable and growing economy coming back from the flood," said Rebecca Blank, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary.

The economic impact of the facility is expected to reach well beyond city limits.  Events and organizations are already booking.

Tuesday officials announced the addition of a Cedar Rapids professional indoor football team.

The Cedar Rapids Titans will play in the newly renovated arena standing next to the convention center in 2013.

"Seeing the plans for the facility was really a big part of what made Cedar Rapids attractive to us," said Chris Kokalis, the team's general manager and co-owner.

The new complex is set to open in the spring of 2013.

 

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