Construction work is underway on the west bank of the Cedar Rapids for a new amphitheater that will offer an intimate view of Mays Island and the downtown landscape beyond. The amphitheater is being incorporated into a new levee segment between 3rd Avenue SW and the police station – part of a comprehensive flood protection system for the westside should it ever get built. Set to open next summer it is anticipated to attract over 50,000 event-goers annually – good news for the westside of downtown that has long suffered from a lack of vibrancy. Now dubbed “Kingston Village,” the area seems poised for revitalization after being devastated by the flood, which left entirely blocks vacant right in the city core.
The upcoming redevelopment of the Louis Sullivan People’s Bank into a restaurant, office, and housing is a positive sign for the area. Additionally, the former school district building a couple blocks away will be redeveloped into apartments. And perhaps most importantly, the City recently got approval to allow select commercial redevelopment in the 100 year flood plane of flooded properties that were bought out with Community Development Block Grant funds that normally restricts construction of new permanent structures. This constraint now aside, redevelopment can progress despite the political and financial delays to comprehensive flood protection.