Today I participated in the second of three community workshops for the Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Planning Process for the River Corridor Redevelopment Plan. The focus of today’s workshop was on transportation and connectivity, and land use in the redevelopment plan. Individuals from Sasaki Associates, the Boston design firm selected last year (pre-flood) to develop a riverfront redevelopment plan, were there to present different scenarios and facilitate discussion.
The first breakout session was to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of three scenarios presented on transportation, connectivity and open space. All scenarios were based off a tentative plan for a greenway / flood protection system. The second breakout session considered land use and locations to focus housing and business revitalization. My table was fairly diverse – one older man, a retired woman formerly a planning consultant, two women from Time Check, one of their daughters; and our table leader, a planner with the City Community Development Department.
Turn out looked pretty good, maybe 150-250, but I could be way off. I saw a lot of familiar faces from City Hall and in the business community. I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and hearing what other citizens had to say about the schemes, as well as offer my own input. Despite being six hours long, it seemed to go by pretty quickly and was actually really pretty fun for me. I look forward to participating in the next meetings I’m able to make it, as I’ll be returning to Ames tomorrow for school.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 31, from 6pm – 9pm, at the Crowne Plaza, for scenario evaluation and determining a preferred scenario. The last of three workshops will be April 25. An action plan will be confirmed at a May 5 meeting and will be presented to the City Council on May 13. I encourage anyone and everyone from Cedar Rapids to get involved in this process.