Mayor Corbett announces new sponsorship for convention complex - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mayor Corbett announces new title sponsorship for convention complex

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

In his annual State of the City address, Mayor Ron Corbett announced an expanded deal with U.S. Cellular as the title sponsor for the convention complex in Cedar Rapids.

U.S. Cellular will pay $3.8 million over 10 years for the naming rights. The current deal brings in $150,000 a year. The agreement will need to be approved by the city council at its Feb. 28 meeting. The agreement would begin in 2013.

The entire complex will be called the U.S. Cellular Center, and the hotel will be called the "Doubletree by Hilton at the U.S. Cellular Center." The entire complex and hotel will be managed by Doubletree by Hilton.

Corbett updated the community on 12 flood-related projects totaling more than $305 million worth of projects including the Paramount Theatre, the Mays Island Parkade, the riverfront amphitheater, the new central fire station, the library and the former federal courthouse which will become city hall. 

Corbett says the city's progress after the floods is on par with others facing similar situations.

"Everyone says that after a disaster of this magnitude it's somewhere between five and seven years before we fully recover, and so here we are coming up on the fourth year, so many of the projects will be done the next year which is in that five to seven year zone," Corbett said.

Terry Bilslend with the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association says he's excited about the work in the flood zones, but there's other areas of need as well.

"We have taken a back seat since the flood,' he said.

Bilslend says the roads and infrastructure are in poor shape and in need of repair now.

"Now that they're getting to the point they are maybe now we can really start getting to the areas that really weren't flood affected," Bilslend said.

Corbett addressed the city's infrastructure as a point of concern during his speech.  He says, while a state fuel tax increase will help, the city will also have to be creative with finding other ways to budget for such repairs. 

"We're just going to have to do more things of stretching the dollar. Maybe not doing as many street widening projects, do more asphalt overlay versus total reconstruction," Corbett said.

Flood protection will certainly be a focus moving forward as well.  The city has touted the necessity of passing a local option sales tax vote on March 6 to pay for the costs of protecting both sides of the river.

Mayor Corbett ended his annual address by asking the residents of Cedar Rapids to fall in love with their city.

"I love Cedar Rapids, but you expect the mayor to love the community" Corbett said. "Can a mayor have the same expectations of the people?"

Corbett gave examples of people with a passion for the city and challenged all residents to take pride in Cedar Rapids and work to improve it.

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