CORRECTED: Cedar Rapids vying for All-American City award - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

CORRECTED: Cedar Rapids vying for All-American City award

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Six years ago, Lynn and Gary Stansbery's home was filled with water when Cedar Rapids saw record flooding. They decided to rebuild.

"This is where I wanted to be," said Lynn. "I didn't think I'd go anywhere else."

This couple's story is one of many flood recovery stories the City of Cedar Rapids is using as it tries to win the National Civic League's All-America City Award.

"You're a city of high quality," said Sandi Fowler, assistant city manager. "That you engage your citizens. That you've overcome strong challenges. For businesses looking to relocate, or locate a new business, it's that third-party validation."

City employees say Dubuque is a good example. It's won the All-American City Award three times, and people say the award helped bring IBM to the area.

Being named a finalist comes at a cost, however.

Eleven City of Cedar Rapids staff and three elected officials are making the trip to the three-day All-American City conference, sponsored by the National Civic League, which is running the city $18,000, according to Maria Johnson, communication division manager for the City of Cedar Rapids.

Another $27,000 was raised in private donations and contributions to allow for business leaders and Cedar Rapids residents to attend. All told, Cedar Rapids sent a delegation of 39 people to the conference, according to Johnson.

"Sometimes you have to invest in letting other people know that you're a quality city," said Fowler.

Some feel the money could be used in other ways.

"Getting people back into housing and other things for people to do so they stay here, in my book, would take a priority," said Sandra Carey, a Cedar Rapids resident.

The 39 people taking the trip, including the Stansberys, feel it's worth the cost if it helps Cedar Rapids show off how far it's come in the past six years.

The only other Iowa city nominated this year is Marshalltown.

Winners will be announced Sunday.

Parts of this story and the headline were corrected June 17 to correct what the money was being used for. It was being used for travel expenses, not as payment to be a finalist for an award.

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