Gazette Editorial Board
New Bohemia welcomes another new neighbor this weekend. The NewBo City Market at the corner of 12th Avenue and Third Street SE in Cedar Rapids brings with it not only hopes for its own success but potential to advance the rebirth of an old neighborhood and boost our city’s post-flood renaissance.
The New Bohemia cultural/business district already has made major strides in its flood rebound. The year-round marketplace crafted from an old industrial building may provide the biggest step yet. We expect it will have broad appeal in our metro area and even beyond.
Kurt Friese, successful Iowa City restaurant owner who is the non-profit project’s director of Food & Advocacy, boasts the market “will revolutionize the town” because it’s a different model than other local food options available.
His enthusiasm is understandable.
Permanent vendors will operate inside year-round. Seasonal vendors will set up outside. There’s a venue for live entertainment. A culinary arts kitchen operated by Kirkwood Community College’s program. A fitness playground.
This public market looks like a great fit — within its own neighborhood and near downtown and the new medical district. More for visitors and residents to sample. More commerce for the city. Opportunities for budding business entrepreneurs. And hopefully more developers to build more nearby housing for young people, retirees and others who desire attractions and services within walking distance.
This $4.37 million project also models how a public-private partnership can benefit the community — built with grants from the state and Linn County, the city’s grant and in-kind donations of land and demolition work, and private donations (the bulk). And lots of collaboration.
Welcome, NewBo City Market.
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