PRESERVE AND DEVELOP: While new private development on the Cedar River’s east side has ramped up in recent months, the near-west side of Cedar Rapids’ core neighborhoods is also drawing developer interest lately. Last week, the City Council gave its initial blessing to four of 11 renovation proposals for city-owned, flood-hit commercial buildings that had originally been slated for demolition after buyouts. This adds momentum to a previously approved project to renovate the Louis Sullivan-designed bank and office building in an area eligible for historic status. It’s also a welcome sign that the council is listening and considering preservationists’ pleas to protect and allow restoration of more of our local architecture.
CHAMPION FOR OTHERS: Marion businessman Tom Barnes was one of 12 Rotarians nationwide recognized at the White House as “Champions of Change” for volunteer work that improves the lives of others. Barnes led the Marion East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club in 2002 to take over the “Shoes for Kids” project, which raises money and has purchased new shoes and boots for about 4,000 children from low-income family in the past 11 years.l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 398-8262