City moves forward for revitalization plan for part "College Dis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City moves forward for revitalization plan for part "College District"

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A big chunk of one city in eastern Iowa is in for a face lift. A revitalization plan is in the works for Cedar Rapids' "College District."

An input meeting was held at Coe College on Tuesday night where the city presented feedback received from the community and ideas to execute them. The district is made up of Coe, Mount Mercy University, the Mound View neighborhood, and both the Irish and Uptown Districts.

Adam Lindenlaub, a planner with the Cedar Rapids Community Development Department, said the development of the area is for a 20 to 25 year plan. 

"We want to really help make the area more appealing to people who either want to move here or live here or to open up a business here," he said.

Based on feedback from the community during July's workshop of the area, crime and safety were presented as one of the top concerns.

The open house comes one day after a homicide investigation was opened that happened close to the Coe College campus. However, a representative from Coe said it's the perception of crime that needs to change.

"One of the ideas that's come out of this is the opportunity that we may have to do a better job in marketing this area of the city and really promoting the fact that it is a safe and secure area," Rod Pritchard, Secretary of Coe College, said.

In attendance was Coe student, Devon Foster, who came to the meeting see what was being done to the neighborhood. He said crime wasn't an issue for him.

"I think the perception of crime is bad because it's something that easily stirs up chaos and what-not. I come from St. Louis, which has considerable more people and more crime," Foster said.

The meeting allowed people to choose which of the action plans for the issues that they liked best. People were given three stickers for each board to rate their order of preference. For Foster, it's bringing in more businesses that are in a walkable distance for the students.

"There's just nothing really, especially close, and I can't imagine what it must be like for the Mount Mercy students who have to drive and walk even further," Foster said.

Other issues raised included lighting and sidewalk improvements, as well as using city programs for home repairs in the neighborhoods.

The city will take the feedback from Tuesday night to draft a full plan. That plan will then be presented in the spring or summer for additional feedback before a final version is presented to the city council come fall. 

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