Government Notes: Cedar Rapids seeks input on intergenerational and sports center

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What do Cedar Rapids residents need from a community center and recreational programming facility?

The city of Cedar Rapids is asking for public input through June 6 to learn more about what residents would like in terms of recreation and sports and in a community center.

Cedar Rapids is working with CSL International in conducting a feasibility study for a dual-use intergenerational center and sports complex. The study is expected to wrap up by September.

Such a facility is one of the projects identified in the Age-Friendly Action Plan adopted in 2022 — an effort to bring together residents of all ages and abilities for healthy activities and social connections. The study is anticipated to wrap up by September.

“We are excited to hear what the public wants for indoor community, recreation and sports facility spaces to enhance a quality parks and recreation system,” Parks and Recreation Director Hashim Taylor said in a statement.

“This study will help identify ways that we can meet the community’s needs now and for the next generation. We value and seek feedback and encourage everyone to participate.”

CSL recently met with community stakeholders and sports industry representatives to better understand current resources and opportunities.

The public online survey can be accessed at, or through a QR code shared on the city’s website and social media channels.

Feedback also will be taken at the downtown farmers market from 7:30 a.m. to noon June 3 and at facilities such as the Northwest Recreation Center and the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

Those with questions may email Trent Cerra, in the city’s Community Development Department, at

C.R. citizens invited to pick up litter today

The city of Cedar Rapids invites the public to join city officials for a litter pickup event to celebrate Earth Week at 4 p.m. today at McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW.

The event is part of Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz’s 1-Bag Challenge asking residents to collect at least one bag of litter each year to make the city cleaner. Litter kits are available at various locations, including City Hall.

Water, snacks and giveaway items will be provided at the Monday event. After brief remarks and a group photo, people can join in picking up litter.

Cedar Rapids again named a Tree City USA

The city of Cedar Rapids once again has been named a Tree City USA in 2022.

It’s the 45th consecutive award — a longer stretch than any other city in Iowa.

The award recognizes a city’s commitment to a vibrant community tree canopy.

The award was presented April 12 to city officials by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at an event at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.

“The Tree City USA award is a symbol for communities who have made a commitment to the management of public trees,” state forester Jeff Goerndt said in a statement.

“Your community has provided an outstanding example for other Iowa communities by enhancing our forest resources and demonstrating the great value of trees in providing multiple benefits for future generations.”

Cedar Rapids was one of 74 Iowa communities to qualify as a Tree City USA. To receive the award, a city must have either a city forester or an active city tree board; have a tree ordinance; spend at least $2 per capita each year on its community forestry program; and have a tree planting and maintenance plan.

To celebrate Arbor Day, the city will hold a tree planting April 28 with students from Kenwood Leadership Academy, the elementary magnet school at 3700 E Ave. NE.

Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell will read an Arbor Day proclamation. City Arborist Todd Fagan and representatives from Cedar Rapids Forestry, the nonprofit Trees Forever, Linn County Conservation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will provide information on tree identification, tree biology and tree planting. Forestry trucks and equipment will be on display.

Linn County attorney points to courthouse parking issues

More parking spots are needed to meet demand among workers at the Linn County Courthouse on the Third Avenue Bridge, Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks told the county Board of Supervisors last week.

The courthouse is on May’s Island, surrounded by the Cedar River, with limited parking available on the bridge. The courthouse is the only county facility where employees lack reliable daily access to their workplace, Maybanks said.

Approximately 137 vehicle parking spots and five motorcycle parking spots are available at the courthouse, but more than 290 parking tags have been issued to the people who work at the Linn County Attorney’s Office, the Linn County Jail and the state judicial system and clerk of court’s office.

  • Eleven spots are reserved for law enforcement vehicles to include jail administration and transport deputies
  • Thirty-one spots are reserved for county and state employees, with only 11 of those reserved for staff of the Linn County Attorney’s Office — the only county office in the courthouse

“There are routinely not enough spaces for all persons who work in the courthouse to park on the island,” Maybanks wrote in a letter March 31 to the supervisors.

“This results in people either having to pay for parking on the bridge, parking a block or more away and walking to the courthouse or, unfortunately, illegally parking and blocking travel lanes.”

The county attorney’s office has 31 employees in its criminal division. Additional spots are needed for interns, guests and members of the office who conduct business at the courthouse but are based at other locations.

Maybanks said a number of options are being explored with Park Cedar Rapids to locate parking spaces within a reasonable distance from the courthouse.

Camp Cardinal Boulevard in Coralville temporarily closing for trail work

A portion of Camp Cardinal Boulevard in Coralville will be closed for about a month and a half to allow for construction of the Clear Creek Trail connection.

The portion of the road from just north of James Street to Highway 6 will be closed starting Tuesday, weather permitting. The road is expected to reopen by the end of May, according to a city news release.

The trail connecting the Tom Harkin Trailhead and the shared use path along Highway 6 will complete the “missing link,” City Engineer Scott Larson previously told The Gazette.

Once the link is completed, there will be a continuous shared use path on Camp Cardinal Boulevard to Melrose Avenue in Iowa City. The paved path also will allow residents to reach the post office on James Street more easily on foot or by bike.

Access to businesses on James Street will be maintained during the closure, the city said.

University of Iowa Public Policy Center will analyze ICPD traffic stop data

The Iowa City Police Department is partnering with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center to analyze its traffic stop data.

The police department has been collecting data on traffic stops since 1999, police Chief Dustin Liston told the city council last week.

Since 2006, the department has worked with Christopher Barnum of St. Ambrose University, who has analyzed this data and offered recommendations.

Barnum’s most recent report was published in 2021 and analyzed racial disproportionality in traffic stops and outcomes in 2019 and 2020.

The Public Policy Center proposed a research-informed traffic study “that will bolster the current understanding of racial disparities in Iowa City traffic stops,” Liston said. The work will expand what has already been done, he added.

The Iowa City Council unanimously approved the contract with the Iowa Public Policy Center at its meeting last week. The expected cost is just under $70,000 and will come out of the police department’s operational budget.

“The department continues to seek the most effective research-backed methods to analyze demographic data on traffic stops with a goal of identifying any racial disparities,” Liston said.

The final report will be submitted to the police chief by Feb. 29, 2024, according to the contract.

College Community appoints school administrators

The College Community School District has announced the appointment of two administrators this month.

Spence Evans, who was most recently principal at Tipton High School, was selected as the next principal of Prairie High School, pending board approval. Evans succeeds Karla Hawley, who has resigned.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the students and staff at Prairie High School,” Evans said in a news release. “Relationships are so important, and I want to help all students see our school as a safe, caring and positive environment.

“The students, staff, district leadership and family support makes this a forever job for me, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Evans is a Mount Pleasant native with 17 years experience as a building principal, including at Amos Hiatt Middle School in Des Moines and Ames High School in Ames.

During his tenure at Ames High School, the school was named the No. 1 school in Iowa for seven out of nine years, according to the news release.

Andrew Davis, the associate principal of Prairie Point Middle School, was named assistant activities director for seventh through 12th grade, pending board approval.

The new full-time position, which will begin July 1, was created to support district activities as the number of participants continues to grow.

“ (Davis’) abilities, communication skills and his connections to students, staff and our community will be essential in coordinating athletics, fine arts, and our school clubs.” Superintendent Doug Wheeler said in a news release.

Davis said he was eager “to build positive relationships and celebrate student and program achievements with our entire school community.”

Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area governmental bodies. Gazette reporters Marissa Payne, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King contribute.

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