I am back in Cedar Rapids for the summer, following a stimulating semester abroad in Rome and my own travels beyond. (Blog posts regarding those travels still to come…) I am interning at a prominent local architecture firm in downtown Cedar Rapids. Today was my first day; I believe it went well, but I must say I was quite disappointed in the total lack of activity around downtown. Whenever I am away for a long period of time I seem to re-envision downtown as a much more bustling place. Obviously the city center took a major hit from the 2008 flood, and a recent article in the Gazette explains ground level tenant space has been slower to reoccupy; but even so, it’s a bit discouraging when at 10am there are maybe five pedestrians out, just scattered traffic, and several premium on-street parking spaces vacant. (And people still think we have a parking problem) Downtown has a lot of good things going for it right now, and coming on over the next couple of years, so hopefully the situation will improve dramatically. Time will tell.
Once I get my travel posts written, I look forward to shifting focus back to CR. My first topic to tackle will be the controversial proposal to close 2nd Ave for PCI’s new medical mall (a letter to the elected’s could be called for). Also I plan to follow the renovation work to take place at the Veterans Memorial Building, now that City Hall will return there for certain, as well as new developments coming on board like the new convention center and the massive US Courthouse now under construction. Another matter that has recently caught my attention is the on-going demolition of flooded homes in Time Check. It’s time for another great summer in Cedar Rapids.